BJP to contest municipal, panchayat polls in J&K alone

Avinash Rai Khana

With urban local bodies and panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir likely to be held from next month, Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) Friday hinted that it will go alone in the polls and contest from all the seats across the Muslim majority state.

“We have constituted committees and told our cadre to get ready and start preparation to go alone for the polls,” BJP national vice president and Kashmir affairs in-charge Avinash Rai Khana, said.

He said that the members of the committee include MPs Jugal Kishore Sharma, Shamsher Singh Manhas and Thupstan Chhewang, party's state vice president Yudhvir Sethi, general secretary Pawan Khajuria, MLA Shakti Raj Parihar and MLC Vibhodh Gupta.

In 2014 Assembly elections, the BJP made significant inroads in the Hindu majority Jammu region as it bagged 25 of the 37 seats in the province, a feat which helped it emerge as the second largest party in the state. The party, however, failed to make any breakthrough in Muslim majority Kashmir Valley where it drew a blank in 46 seats.

The BJP formed a coalition government with the regional PDP in March 2015. However, the saffron party ended its alliance with the PDP in June this year and is gearing up to meet the electoral challenge in the restive Himalayan state.

Meanwhile, sources said the state election commission may issue the first notification for urban body polls next week. The government is likely to conduct elections in Jammu region as well as some border districts in Kashmir region with polling in sensitive places like south Kashmir to be held in later phases.

The announcement for polls was made by the outgoing governor N N Vohra. The elections to urban local bodies and panchayats have been pending for long. While the last panchayat polls in the state were held in 2011, the urban local body polls have not been held for nearly eight years.

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BJP to contest municipal, panchayat polls in J&K alone

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