BJP wants to fill J&K political void post A370 repeal

BJP wants to fill political void post Article 370 abrogation in Kashmir

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Union Minister of Minority Affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, visits Lal Chowk market in Srinagar on January 22, 2020. (AFP Photo)

As a group of union ministers wrapped up their week-long Jammu and Kashmir "public outreach" programme, BJP is planning to fill the political void created in the erstwhile state after the abrogation of Article 370 last August.

On the last day of the union ministers' visit, the saffron party organised a youth convention in Srinagar to woo youngsters into the party fold with an eye on the upcoming Assembly polls.

"Not all youth of Kashmir are misguided and a majority of them are ready to join the mainstream as was evident today," national vice-president of BJP and Jammu and Kashmir affairs in-charge, Avinash Rai Khanna told reporters.

His assertions came after nearly three dozen well-qualified youth, some of them with doctorate degrees joined the BJP.

“Today, tall claims of the Opposition that the youths were against BJP have fallen flat. I am happy to welcome dozens of highly qualified Kashmiri youth in BJP. They are our future,” Khanna said while speaking at the convention held at Tagore Hall here. 

"Opposition parties were running a malicious campaign in Kashmir that post abrogation of Article 370, Valley's youth will resist and pick up the gun to fight against the government of India. But it has been almost six months since Article 370 was scrapped, nothing of that sort happened here. Though some youth may be misguided, their number is very less compared to those who are here today and ready to join BJP,” he added.

Pertinently, in 2014 Assembly polls, the BJP failed to open its account in Kashmir but won 25 seats from Jammu region alone. In last year's Lok Sabha polls, the BJP swept the elections in Jammu by winning both parliamentary seats and the Ladakh seat. The saffron party got a lead in 28 of the 87 Assembly segments last year.

At a time when the leadership of Kashmir-based mainstream parties has either been detained or their movement restricted after the abrogation of Article 370, the BJP in Kashmir says they will fill that void by taking part in the Assembly polls.

"We are the new leadership of Kashmir. We will emerge as a force against those who have looted Kashmir; we will definitely contest elections to end corruption," said a BJP leader from south Kashmir.

He said the party is focussing on 10 Assembly segments in Kashmir which saw very poor voter turnout in last elections.