BJP to soon unveil its 44-plus plan for Jammu and Kashmir
The most interesting part of the plan is how the BJP wants to use the separatist-sponsored boycott to its advantage.
“We will be contesting all the seats across the state,” BJP leader Ashok Khajuria said. While the party would field its own candidates in most of the seats, “there is a possibility of some of them contesting with our support and on different symbols”, he said. The idea, Khajuria said, is to stake the claim for ruling J&K.
BJP never had a major presence the state assembly — it has 11 members in the current house. But the results of the Lok Sabha polls changed the situation. Of the state’s six Lok Sabha seats, the BJP wrested two Jammu berths and the Ladakh seat from the state’s ruling coalition of the National Conference and Congress. The idea now is to consolidate on this and push the numbers in the assembly.
Demographics of the constituencies don’t support the theory that the BJP can reach the majority level. Of the 87 seats, there are 21 with a clear Hindu majority and two with Buddhist majority. In the remaining constituencies with a Muslim majority, the BJP doesn’t have big support base. The party, however, is reportedly working on repeating the reverse engineering it employed in Uttar Pradesh, with some modification.
Shah’s J&K plan is said to be a mix of dividing the majority Muslim vote NC and Peoples Democratic Party, getting small allies and independents on board and exploiting separatist boycott to its advantage, while consolidating Hindu votes. Political scientist Rekha Choudhary believes that cancellation of foreign secretary-level talks by India because of the Pakistan envoy meeting separatist leaders could be linked more to electoral politics in the state than the diplomatic considerations. “Though Modi has yet to spell out his Kashmir policy, the only thing which is visible so far is that the BJP is trying to keep its vote bank in Jammu and Ladakh intact,” Choudhary said. “This is precisely why Modi is talking more about Jammu and Ladakh and skipping Kashmir altogether.”
The most interesting part of the plan is how the BJP wants to use the separatist-sponsored boycott to its advantage. The party has identified eight segments from Kashmir where the highest poll percentage, so far, is still lower compared to the Kashmiri Pandit votes.
If separatist boycott has the same intensity as it had in previous elections, and the migrants vote for BJP totally, this strategy isn’t impractical. The seats falling under this category include Haba Kadal, Amira Kadal, Sopore, Khanyar and Tral.
Party leader JP Nanda, who is in charge of the campaign, has had a series of meetings with the Panthers Party. He also met Peoples Conference’s Sajjad Lone earlier in Srinagar. Besides, Nanda bap t i zed Hina Shafi, the dentist daughter of former NC MP Mohammad Shafi Bhat, into the party. within the secularist-trio of Congress,