BJP Trying To Woo Sajad Lone

SRINAGAR: Riding on the high Modi wave, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is hopeful of repeating its Maharashtra, Haryana experience in Jammu and Kashmir as well, where it is banking on a four-corner contest with the breakdown in the alliance between the ruling National Conference and the Congress. 

While the BJP has said it will be going it alone in the Assembly polls to be held starting 25 November, contesting all 87 constituencies, the party’s strategy appears to include an attempt to rope-in politicians fed up with separatist politics- like Sajad Lone- the son of Abdul Ghani Lone. 

BJP general secretary Ram Madhav has reportedly been in a series of meetings with leading Kashmiri politicians, public figures and intellectuals lately. 

According to a report in the Times of India Ram Madhav met Sajad Lone, who heads a faction of his slain father’s People's Conference, this week, although BJP and Kashmir politicians are tight-lipped about the meeting.

Although Sajad Lone lost the 2009 parliamentary elections from North Kashmir, his party is gearing up to contest a few assembly seats from the region this time with renewed hope. Observers believe, his People's Conference has a strong base in five Assembly seats in North Kashmir’s Kupwara district, and with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) fighting over ticket allocation in the prestigious Baramulla constituency, Lone could well surprise political pundits.

Since 2009, Sajad Lone has come a long way and “Whatever happens in the future, if the present political scene is symbolic of anything, it is the making of Sajad Lone as one of the most important political players in the valley, after NC and PDP.” 

According to reports, the BJP national general secretary- J P Nadda also met Lone at his Sanat Nagar residence, an uptown locality in the summer capital of Kashmir, Srinagar, last week. 

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