Admitting that they have come to the people of Jammu and Kashmir with a new proposition, Bharatiya Janata Party national general secretary Ram Madhav in an apparent reference to party’s silence over Article 370 of the Indian Constitution said that they have refined their thinking so as to allow development take over the old discourse.
Speaking at a seminar on BJP’s development vision on Friday, he said “BJP has come to the people of the state during polls with a new thinking. We have tried to change the political discourse in the state by coming up with a new proposition’’.
Usually political parties talk of giving peace a chance in the state, but we have come with the proposition that “let us give development a chance’’, he pointed out.
However, the other parties want to have the same old discourse and they want to drag us also into it, Ram Madhav said, adding that “we are not scared of that discussion. However, we have refined our thoughts to let development discourse take over everything’’.
Pointing out that the BJP was not apologetic for changing its political discourse, he said that “we have felt that some issues are of national relevance and they have to be discussed nationally. During the Lok Sabha polls, the party raked up all national issues including some relating to the state, he said, adding that every issue has its own relevance and it has to be taken up at an appropriate level and at an appropriate forum.
The BJP has come up with development centric discourse as it felt that assembly elections shall be contested keeping in mind the present situation of the state as the people here are not only the victims of old discourses and old issues, but also the biggest sufferer in matter of development. Six decades after independence, the state lags far behind in the matter of development as compared to other states of the country, he pointed out.
Who is responsible for it? he asked, adding that some may hold the Centre responsible, while others may accuse the state government. “We believe the major responsibility for the present situation facing the states is squarely on the successive state governments,’’ he added.
In this context, the BJP leader referred to rampant corruption by successive state government s. Last year, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah visited the Planning Commission demanding allocation of Rs 10,000 crore annual budget for Jammu Kashmir. As Congress had a coalition with National Conference in the state, the Planning Commission was liberal enough to allocate it Rs 8,000 crore annual budget, he pointed out.
“Proportionally, it is higher than the planning support given by Planning Commission to any other state in the country,’’ he said. “We have no complaint about it. Jammu Kashmir needs financial support and it is the Centre’s responsibility to help it in respect of economic development, but the problem is that the state government despite such funding raised its hands when floods came,’’ Madhav said.
It this Rs 8,000 crore is split on the basis of state’s population then every person shall get Rs 6 lakh, he said, adding there the state’s money has been going. While there are different public versions about the extent of Central funds having come to the state during the last 50 years, it is usually allocated Rs 40,000 crore during one five year plan.
Referring to state government’s failure during floods, Madhav expressed surprise over Omar Abdullah’s recent statement that floods have come at a wrong time. “Look at the insensitivity of the political leadership here,’’ he said, asking “what is the right time for a flood….after the elections are over?’’ “This has been the political attitude of the people here that people should suffer, but my political fortunes should not suffer,’’ he pointed out.
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi responded to the situation sensitively and immediately allocated Rs 1,75,000 crore for flood victims. “Did it reach the flood victims?’’ the BJP leader asked, adding that while several areas of Jammu had also been affected by floods, large areas of Valley were worst hit and despite the onset of winter, people there were compelled to live under miserable conditions due to the failure of the state government.
However, the biggest problem in the state was that the political parties were not ready to accept development as their main agenda, he said. “They issue manifestos raising the same old issues and ask us as to why we are not doing the same,’’ Madhav said, adding “let us give development a chance’’. “The state has so much of potential and we want to exploit that potential,’’ he said while referring to sufferings to different sections of society due to bad governance of two families.
“After the elections are over, irrespective of who so ever forms the government, we want the rehabilitation support reach directly to the bank accounts of flood victims. Let them rebuild their lives rather than depending on the government. Ours will be a participatory government and every citizen a stake holder in the government,’’ he added.
Also referring to Congress, he said that it was taking consolation in the hope that it will be in coalition with whosoever forms government in the state. Pointing out that BJP was committed to bring all round development in the state by rebuilding the lost confidence of the people, he appealed the electorate to give it a chance to fulfill their aspirations.