BJP high command drops hint of Assembly polls in Oct-Nov

BJP national working president JP Nadda presiding over J&K unit’s Core Group meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday.
BJP national working president JP Nadda presiding over J&K unit’s Core Group meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Drive against militancy, corruption to gain momentum
Politicians may roll in J&K Bank scam

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, July 30: The BJP high command tonight dropped hints that the Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir could be held in October-November this year though a final call has to be taken by the Election Commission of India and announced that drive against corruption, scams and militancy would be intensified in the State during the coming days and some top guns could face arrest in Jammu and Kashmir Bank scams.
The BJP Core Group of Jammu and Kashmir, whose meeting was chaired by BJP working president Jagat Prakash Nadda in New Delhi tonight for about one and half hours, was unanimous that there should be democratically elected Government in the State and months of October and November were discussed as “most appropriate period” for conduct of the elections.
Nadda was joined by BJP’s new general secretary (Organizations), BL Santosh, Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Dr Jitendra Singh, party’s pointman on Jammu and Kashmir, Ram Madhav, general secretary and Avinash Rai Khanna, vice president, from New Delhi besides the Core Group members of the State.
BJP president and Union Home Minister Amit Shah couldn’t make it to the meeting due to his preoccupation.
Insiders in the Core Group told the Excelsior on telephone from New Delhi that Nadda in his first official engagement with Jammu and Kashmir BJP unit after taking over as the working party president, said the BJP high command was of the view that Assembly elections should be held in the State, a demand endorsed by the State unit leaders.
As annual pilgrimage of Shri Amarnath Ji would conclude on August 15 and Nomads would start returning to plains in October, there was a view that the Assembly elections should be held in October-November, they said and pointed out that the Election Commission has already announced that it would list schedule of the Assembly elections after August 15.
“We have been asked to start preparations for the Assembly elections immediately and focus on all three regions of the State with a view to win maximum numbers of seats in the Assembly,” a BJP leader said, adding though Jammu region with 37 Assembly seats remained major focus of the party, they have also been asked to concentrate on Kashmir and Ladakh regions to raise their tally.
In the last Assembly, the BJP had won 25 Assembly seats, all from Jammu region.
There was, however, no talk of alliance in the Assembly elections in the Core Group meeting, the party leaders said.
“Core group meeting of @BJP4JnK was held today evening chaired by National Working President @JPNadda. Elaborate discussions were held about the preparations for assembly elections,” tweeted party general secretary (organisation) BL Santosh, who was present in the meeting.
Sources said the BJP high command dropped hints that there would be no let up in the drive against corruption, scams and militancy in the State and that National Investigation Agency (NIA) and anti-graft bodies of the State would play crucial role in the next few months.
There were indications that some top guns including political leaders were involved in Jammu and Kashmir Bank scams and they could face arrest during the course of investigations.
It may be mentioned here that the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has already registered two FIRs in J&K Bank scams after removal of Parvez Ahmed from the post of the Chairman. However, the BJP was against any move to merge Jammu and Kashmir Bank with any other Bank.
The NIA, according to sources, could also play crucial role in drive against terror financing. The `Operation All Out’ would gain further momentum after August 15 when large number of security forces engaged for Shri Amarnath Ji pilgrimage would be free, they said, adding the BJP high command was confident that militancy will be contained to a reasonable extent in next few months.
Party leaders said there was no mention of Articles 35-A and 370 in the meeting as the BJP was of the view that they fall in the domain of the Government.
The Core Group members, who attended the meeting, were State BJP president, Ravinder Raina, Dr Nirmal Singh, Speaker Legislative Assembly, Kavinder Gupta, former Deputy Chief Minister, Jugal Kishore Sharma and Shamsher Singh Manhas, both MPs, Ashok Koul, Dr Narinder Singh, Sat Sharma `CA’, Sunil Sharma, Sunil Sethi and Yudhvir Sethi.
Jammu and Kashmir is under the spell of Governor and President’s rule since June 19, 2018 after the BJP had withdrawn support to Mehbooba Mufti-led Government.
After completion of six months of the Governor’s rule, the State had come under the President’s rule on January 3, 2019, which was extended by another term of six months on July 3.
Governor Satya Pal Malik had dissolved the State Assembly on November 21, 2018.