Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has accused BJP of dividing Jammu and Kashmir on religious lines to win the upcoming Assembly polls in the state and warned that “dangerous ramifications” of such politics would transcend the election process.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Abdullah said, “This is not about one election. Don’t do politics here (in J&K) by dividing people because these divisions take forever to heal. Any division along religious lines has dangerous ramifications… You cannot divide J&K and govern it as well. You have to unite it and govern it.”
The Chief Minister said BJP’s plans for the state were “a work in progress”. “They are doing it with all their might. How far will it play out and what impact this polarisation will have on the voters will be known only once we see the results of the elections… If they are unsuccessful — which we think they will — then it will mean that the voters have rejected this divisive programme”.
BJP has tried to polarise the state earlier as well, he said, recalling, “What was Amarnath land row agitation (in 2008)? At that time, they got limited success.”
“They are looking at each constituency in Jammu. Beside the Hindu majority constituencies where they think the polarisation will help them in the election, they are also looking closely at seats which have 40:60, 45:55 or 50:50 population ratio. They are trying to polarise with an aim that they consolidate the Hindu votes in their favour. On the other side they have started propping up candidates so that the vote against them is divided,’’ he said. “This is what they are doing in constituencies like Bhaderwah, Ramban and even Kishtwar where the population ratio is close.”
Abdullah said there were multiple faultlines in the state and each region has a different pattern. “There are areas were the demography is 50:50 or 40:60. There are districts in Jammu which have Hindu majority, but also there are districts which have Muslim majority or the population is almost equal. Ladakh has a different population pattern. While Leh has Buddhist majority, there are Shia Muslims in Kargil,’’ he said.
On BJP’s plans for the Valley, the CM said it was also planning how “a (poll) boycott can be swung in their favour.They are working on constituencies like Tral, Sopore, Habakadal and Amirakadal. They hoping to consolidate the migrant Kashmiri Pandit votes so that if there is a boycott, they manage to win.”
The NC leader said the governance model of Narendra Modi-led regime has failed and that BJP was raking up the issues of ‘love jihad’ and conversion to divert public attention from the issues related to governance.
On the cancellation of India-Pakistan foreign secretary-level talks, he said, “If they (the Centre) wanted to suspend talks for the time being, they could have raised several other issues as well. They could have made the situation at the LoC a reason. They could have said that unless the violations along the LoC are not stopped, we won’t talk. They could easily said that they would wait till the situation inside Pakistan stabilises.’’
But they decided to break the dialogue process because Hurriyat leaders had a cup of tea with Pakistan High Commissioner. What type of a reason is this? Unless you stop giving tea to Hurriyat, we will not talk to you. This thing isn’t new. It is part of Pakistan’s stated policy on Kashmir and that is exactly why there is a dialogue process with Pakistan.”