New Delhi: Veteran leader Ghulam Nabi Azad’s exit from Congress has led to a political churn in Jammu and Kashmir but the BJP, claiming to form a government in the union territory, is keeping its political cards close to its chest.
After the abrogation of Article 370, the atmosphere in the politically-sensitive union territory is undergoing a change, but only the upcoming Assembly elections will gauge the real public mood.
The road to a government formation in Jammu and Kashmir passes through the valley where the situation has changed after the delimitation of the Assembly seats.
Despite the delimitation of the Assembly seats, there has been no change in the situation.
Even after increasing the number of seats and delimitation, there are 47 seats in the Legislative Assembly in Kashmir and 43 in Jammu.
With a robust presence in Jammu, the BJP has been winning elections continuously from the Jammu divisiton but since the party is well aware of the situation in the Valley, it is maintaining a guarded response on Azad’s resignation from the grand-old party.
A prominent leader associated with the campaign to strengthen BJP’s political base in Jammu and Kashmir said that the mood will become clear during the Assembly polls. However, the saffron party has not yet made an announcement regarding its stand on Azad.
The day Azad quit the Congress, Union Home Minister Amit Shah held an important meeting with party leaders of the Jammu and Kashmir core group and reviewed the situation and the poll preparations. However, the meeting was decided prior to the resignation.
On the poll preparations, the BJP clearly says that the primary emphasis of the party is to build a strong organisational base in all the Assembly seats as well as prepare a team of youth party workers working at the booth level, who will meet and serve the people.
The party wants to expand its organisational presence by mobilising public support and also to increase its political base among the people.
In order to run the party’s expansion campaign vigorously in Jammu and Kashmir, the BJP has appointed veteran party leaders like former Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh and Kavinder Gupta, former minister Sat Sharma, Jammu and Kashmir BJP Vice President Surjit Singh Slathia, Devender Singh Rana and Rakesh Mahajan as in-charges of various party department cells to establish dialogue and interact with former retired army officers, people living in border areas, senior citizens, refugees, Panchayati Raj, people associated with the local poll bodies, people belonging to the working class, industry and trade as well as people from different professional classes.
Apart from this, according to the guidelines of the party high command, Jammu and Kashmir BJP President Ravinder Raina has directed to increase the party’s activities by holding a meeting with the convenors and co-convenors of all the cells and departments.
After the abrogation of Article 370 and 35-A, Jammu and Kashmir has been accorded the status of a union territory and as soon as the election preparations are completed, the Assembly polls are going to be held.
Before that, the BJP has decided to listen to the problems of the people and find a solution by constituting a Public Grievance Redressal Committee comprising senior party leaders.
The BJP is laying special emphasis on strengthening the party in Jammu as well as in Kashmir since it is well aware that it is not possible to form a government in the union territory without winning Assembly seats in the valley.
It is being widely speculated that sooner or later the BJP will form an alliance with any political party or leader who can help it win seats in the valley, but whether this alliance will be pre-or post-poll, remains to be seen until the announcement of the election dates.