SRINAGAR: Eyeing a sizeable chunk of votes in Valley, the BJP is fast shedding its hawkish image and trying to reach out to Kashmiri Muslims while raising pitch against Pakistan as well as regional politicians in J&K. Among other things, the party has tailored its earlier discourse of “ending the Muslim hegemony of J&K” and is instead peddling Modi’s catch phrase of “sab ka vikas sab ke sath” mantra.
Interestingly, the local Congress man Sham Lal Sharma came to BJP’s rescue by throwing up the idea of a “Hindu CM” for the next government in J&K. BJP leaders have scotched down this idea and said the party was not toeing a religious line in Kashmir. Dr Jitendra Singh, Minister of State in Prime Ministers Office Thursday said that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi wanted to win the hearts and minds of people of Jammu and Kashmir, irrespective of their caste, color or creed.
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of the function here Dr Jitendra Singh said, BJP is committed to peace, progress and prosperity in Jammu and Kashmir. Prime Minister wants peace, developments in Jammu and Kashmir. Our motive is never the politics of gain or loss, but winning the hearts of the people, he said. Curiously, Jitindera, who had kicked up a political storm by saying the Modi government was ready with a plan to abrogate article 370 of Indian constitution, sounded sober and less aggressive.
Trying to dispel doubts about BJP in Valley, Jitendra Singh further said, The priority would be given to the States development and the party would not discriminate on the basis of caste, creed, language and religion. Dr Singh while addressing his party workers here said that the Congress and other so-called secular parties were creating a fear that BJP was against the minorities in the country for its political benefits. Unfortunately development and economic issues have never been the basis of politics here. As far as BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are concerned, a fear was being created that we are against minority. It is the political game plan of the Congress party and the so-called secular parties. The BJP was never against minorities, he said.
Local mouthpiece of BJP, Fayaz Bhat in a statement reinforced Jitindera’s views by saying ,”The Congress leader who threw up the idea of Hindu CM had full backing from Sonia Gandhi and other top leaders.”
He asserted that Prime Minister Narindera Modi’s approach of “humanity and equality” had exposed the “fascist wish to have a Hindu CM.” Bhat termed this a conspiracy and said both NC and Congress were hatching a plot to divide the constituencies along religious lines.
“NC and Congress want to put entire J&K state on fire. It is the time to take all people on the path of development and avoid raising communal slogans in J&K but NC-Congress combo are creating communal tensions in Kashmir Valley as well as in Jammu’s Pandit constituencies respectively to create division among people and provide chance to each other to win the elections on religious cards.
Without naming Saifudin Soz whose lone vote in in 1999 had toppled the BJP government at the center, Fayaz Bhat said, “NC or local Congress leaders always worked for personal gains.”
“We must avoid communally charged remarks that divide the state. We must follow the policy of equality and humanity rather than weaving the conspiracies for installing a Hindu CM or creation of Hindu constituencies. This will sabotage return of Kashmiri Pandits to the valley.”
He said that BJP stands for strong principles of development and wants to realize the personal dreams of Modi and Amit Shah the president of BJP as well as personal vision of Rajnath Singh home minister of India to win the hearts of both Muslims and Hindus equally.
He said the motive behind airing communally charged remarks was to damage the goodwill Narindera Modi has earned in a matter of weeks. “People of all faiths here have started liking Modi’s vision. Those elements who have started realizing that not only people of Jammu and Ladakh but people of Kashmir have started supported pro human and pro development approach of PM Modi as well as BJP as the most credible party of India, are now resorting to such conspiracies which can have adverse consequences on the people of the state.”
Interestingly, the BJP has smartly planned to prove to the people in J&K that it was actually Congress that pursued a Hindutva agenda in order to gain a toehold in Jammu’s Hindu dominated areas. “BJP is a progressive organization. Those wearing masks of secularism are nursing communal ambitions in their chests,” said a local BJP worker in Srinagar.
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