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BJP calls J&K core group to Delhi for ‘urgent meeting’

The meeting is likely to be chaired by BJP working president J P Nadda and will also be attended by general secretary (organisation) B L Santhosh

Written by Arun Sharma | Jammu |
Updated: July 29, 2019 10:17:32 am
bjp jammu and kashmir, jammu and kashmir article 35a, article 35a, article 35 a, bjp delhi meeting, j&k news, bjp j&k, amit shah jammu and kashmir The meeting is likely to be chaired by BJP working president J P Nadda (left).

Amidst uncertainty and speculation over the deployment of additional forces in the Valley, the Central leadership of the BJP has summoned members of the party’s core group in Jammu and Kashmir for an “urgent meeting” in Delhi on Tuesday.

The meeting is likely to be chaired by BJP working president J P Nadda and will also be attended by general secretary (organisation) B L Santhosh. The possibility of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah meeting the party’s J&K unit leaders has not been ruled out.

While confirming the meeting, sources in the state unit said no agenda has been conveyed to them.


Speculation on J&K plan

Given Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s emphatic assertion in Parliament of the BJP’s views on Article 370, every small change in the state’s security detail leads to frenetic speculation on the Centre’s ‘agenda’. It hasn’t helped that there has been no formal word from the BJP state unit leadership to soothe these apprehensions among the public.

“Going by the hurry in which the meeting is being convened, there seems to be something important — maybe discussions on Article 35A (which empowers the J&K legislature to define permanent residents of the state) or the much awaited Assembly elections,” said a senior party leader in J&K who did not want to be named.

Even the timing of the meeting has not been conveyed to them, this leader pointed out, adding that all of them would reach Delhi on Monday so that they are available for the meeting at short notice.

Read | As heat in J&K builds up, pending in Supreme Court: 7 petitions against Article 35A

However, other party leaders ruled out the possibility of discussions on Article 35A. “Why would we take a call on 35A when the matter is pending before the Supreme Court,” said one of the leaders attending the meeting, adding “we will go by the decision of the court”.

Dismissing statements by Opposition political parties that the movement of 100 additional companies of paramilitary forces to Kashmir was linked to the Centre’s plan to abrogate Article 35A and Article 370 (special status to J&K), the BJP leader said, “Kashmiri politicians are trying to stir passions ahead of the Assembly elections. They always raise such fears ahead of every election so as to create an atmosphere against pro-India parties.”

Read | PM Modi: People of Kashmir want to join mainstream

Last month, the Election Commission of India had said that it would take a decision on holding Assembly elections in the state after consulting political parties, and the state and Central governments, and after the Amarnath yatra, which is culminating on August 15.

However, many within the BJP ruled out the possibility of Assembly elections taking place this year. While several former party legislators wanted the elections to be held at the earliest, units of the Sangh Parivar don’t want to rush in since, according to sources, they fear elections will bring Kashmir-centric parties back to power and “undo everything achieved by the Governor’s administration”.

Read | Letter alerts Railways staff on ‘emergency situation’ in Kashmir Valley, officials say ‘no basis’

They said even the newly elected panches and sarpanches wanted the government to first establish all the three tiers of the Panchyati Raj system before going in for Assembly elections. Behind their demand lie apprehensions that an elected government would not want decentralisation of its powers at the grassroot level.

Sources attributed the speculation around the deployment of additional forces to recent statements from the political and security establishment.

Read | As more troops arrive, parties in Valley warn: Don’t touch Article 35A

At a function in Kathua last week, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had said that a resolution of the Kashmir issue was on the cards. “Agar baat-cheet se nahi, to kaisey, humein achchi tarah maloom hai (If not through talks, then we know very well how to resolve the issue),” he said, adding, “Whatever I say, I say with full responsibility.”

Sources, however, said the deployment of additional forces may have to do with the Centre’s decision to step up operations to clear the Valley of militants before holding elections, or even the possible arrest of senior politicians in corruption cases.

Speaking at Kargil Vijay Diwas function in Drass on July 26, Army chief General Rawat had said that “any local militant picking the gun against security forces will no longer be a militant. The gun and the man will be separated. The man will go to the grave and the gun will be with us.”

Earlier, Governor Satya Pal Malik had at a function in Kargil lamented that the biggest problem in Jammu and Kashmir is of corruption among political parties. “I guarantee you that in the next two-three months, you will seen two-three big fish, who have been ministers, seeking bail. And then, I will ask you to applaud,’’ Malik said.

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