November 2018 News

Next CM To Be From BJP: Raina

24 November 2018
The Tribune
Dinesh Manhotra

Jammu: Even as the BJP high command is seriously mulling projecting People's Conference leader Sajad Lone as a chief ministerial candidate in the Assembly elections, state party president Ravinder Raina on Saturday said the next Chief Minister of J&K will be from the saffron party. 'Although we have some coalition partners in the state, the next Chief Minister will be a person who will contest election on the mandate of the BJP,' Raina told the media after chairing a party meeting to kick-start preparations for the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections. 'In the last Assembly elections, we had won 25 seats but now our tally will increase due to the expansion of party's work in new areas, especially in the Valley and Ladakh,' he said. Raina claimed that political atmosphere in the state was already in the favour of the BJP as had been proved in the recent urban local bodies elections. 'We will rather raise this tempo in the days to come so as install the first BJP Chief Minister in J&K,' he said, adding that his party had already made the whole Jammu region as 'Congress mukt.' 'Of the total 37 municipalities of the Jammu region, the BJP has captured 32,' he said, adding that the party had even spread its footprints in new areas in the Kashmir valley. 'The mayor of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation was elected with the support of the BJP. The party also won nine municipalities in south Kashmir,' he said. When asked whether the party would replace some sitting MLAs, Raina said the decision on candidates would be taken by the central parliamentary board. 'We will ask the high command to conduct a secret survey in every Assembly segment to select potential and winnable candidates,' he said. Notably, there is a strong anger among people against performance of some former MLAs, especially those who were ministers in the previous PDP-BJP regime headed by Mehbooba Mufti. Raina revealed that the BJP was never interested in formation of government in J&K after breaking its alliance with the PDP. 'Had we been interested in forming a new coalition, the government would have been formed after conclusion of the annual Amarnath yatra in August this year,' he said, adding that a majority opinion in the party was against forming government.