Two days after Leela Karan Sharma,convenor of the Shri Amarnath Sangharsh Samiti (SASS) resigned to facilitate his contesting the LS election on a BJP ticket,the party clarified that a final decision on the number of seats it would contest in the state was yet to be taken.
BJP’s party in-charge for Jammu and Kashmir,Shanta Kumar,said,”We have not even decided on the number of seats we will contest. Although there are some party leaders who are in favour of contesting from Kashmir,the decision is yet to be announced.”
Sources revealed that while the state unit of the BJP was in favour of fielding Sharma from Jammu and Dr Jitendar Singh,the SASS spokesman,from Udhampur,the party was facing opposition from some members who were not in favour of giving both seats to the Samiti. They added that BJP’s former state president,Nirmal Singh,and it’s Vice President,Ranjit Singh were in the running for the two seats with former Defence Minister and BJP’s legislative party leader,Chaman Lal Gupta,lobbying for the Udhampur seat for his son Anil.
While sources said that the BJP high command had been informed that the protest in the party office had the backing of Gupta,with some BJP MLAs threatening to resign if the seat was not given to his son,Chaman Lal Gupta denied any role in the protest.
Meanwhile,a section of the BJP leadership invoked Sharma’s association with the BJP to push for his candidature. “Leela Karan Sharma has been an executive committee member of the BJP and was earlier associated with Jan Sangh. Likewise,Jatinder Singh played a key role in making the people across the country aware of the opposition by the Kashmiri leadership to the transfer of land to Shri Amarnath Sangarsh Samiti during the nearly two month long agitation in the state,” said a BJP leader.
However BJP Spokesman,Ramesh Arora,said,” The party has taken notice of the protests which were organised by some gunda elements. The BJP leadership at Delhi will take a final decision on the candidature of Leela Karan Sharma and Dr Jitendar Singh.”
BJP sources said that the fielding of SASS members was a step in the direction of reviving the party’s hindutva campaign across the country. The party has already declared itself in favour of allocating land for the Amarnath shrine if voted to power.