August 2002 News

BJP ties up with Jammu Morcha for J&K elections

21 August 2002
The Pioneer
K Balasubrahmanyam

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has decided to take on the ruling National Conference in the forthcoming assembly elections in Jummu and Kashmir, by exposing the latter''s discriminatory attitude towards Jammu and Ladakh regions. Fully aware of the party''s stakes in the Jammu region, BJP president M Venkaiah Naidu during his recent visit to Jammu and Kashmir made every effort to consolidate Hindu votes. This, despite the fact that Bharatiy Janata Party leaders had earlier said they would never consider the demand for trifurcation of the State, a demand raised by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. While appreciating the services rendered by RSS in the State, the BJP has also agreed for seat-sharing with the Jammu State Morcha, an RSS outfit. The BJP have also assured the people that, if elected, it would implement the recommendations made by Gajendra Gadkar and Wajir committees to end the discrimination of Jammu and Ladakh. Moreover, the party leaders also hinted that they would consider the suggestion of constituting regional development councils for the speedy development of these two regions. The BJP also said it would work hard to get back the Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. The BJP is confident that the anti-NC stance and promise to end the discrimination of Jammu and Ladakh regions would get them good number of seats in the coming elections. These were the two issues mainly touched by Mr Naidu and BJP general secretary Rajnath Singh during the formal launch of its election campaign in Jammu on Tuesday. In their appeal to the people of Jammu region, the senior leaders said if BJP candidates are elected it would be easier to achieve certain goals: ending the dynastic rule in the state, more development in the region, a formidable Hindu voice in the Jammu and Kashmir assembly and ending militancy in the state. Addressing two rallies at Kathua and Jammu, Mr Naidu demanded an explanation from the National Conference and Congress leaders on the gross misuse of the Central funds meant for the State. ''The Centre has given huge amount of funds to the State. It is unfortunate that the money did not reach the people. Jammu and Kashmir is most undeveloped state in the country despite huge financial support from the Centre,'' he alleged. Mr Naidu added that the National Conference should forget about its demand for the pre-1953 status to Jammu and Kashmir. ''There is no question of granting pre-1953 status. We will not succumb to any pressures on this. However, we are ready for devolution of power,'' he said. The BJP leaders accused that the National Conference and the Congress were mainly responsible for the growth of militancy in the state. Mr Naidu said the Vajpayee government would teach a befitting lesson to Pakistan if it dares to enter the Indian territory again. Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Rajnath Singh said National Conference''s discriminatory attitude can be explained by the fact that only 15 thousand jobs were provided to Jammu and Ladakh region whereas one lakh 10 thousand jobs have been created in the past six years. Meanwhile, the Central Election Committee of the BJP, which met here on Wednesday at the Prime Minister''s residence, formally decided to enter into a poll understanding with the Jammu State Morcha with a view to avoid any division of votes of various nationalist groups, party spokesman Arun Jaitley said. ''How many and which one are to be left would be finalised after a formal discussion with the JSM leaders,'' he said.


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