BJP’s crucial EC meet today to shortlist names of candidates for LS polls

Chugh, Dr Jitendra among others to attend

Avtar Bhat

JAMMU, Feb 26: A crucial meeting of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Election Committee to shortlist the names of probable candidates for five Parliamentary seats of Jammu and Kashmir will be held at party office, Trikuta Nagar here, tomorrow.
According to party sources, the meeting will be chaired by party president J&K, Ravinder Raina and it among others will be attended by party national general secretary, in charge J&K and Ladakh Union Territories, Tarun Chugh, Union Minister and MP Kathua, Udhampur constituency, Dr Jitendra Singh, co incharge, J&K Ashish Sood, party general secretary (Org), Ashok Koul, former Deputy CMs, Dr Nirmal Singh and Kavinder Gupta, party general secretaries, Dr D K Manyal, Sunil Sharma and Vibodh Gupta, vice president, Shakti Raj Parihar, party chief spokesperson, Sunil Sethi and other leaders including Rafiq Wani and Dr Farida Khan.
Sources said that party will shortlist the candidates from all five constituencies but main stress will be on Jammu, Kathua -Udhampur and Anantnag -Rajouri Lok Sabha seats. Sources said two to three candidates including the sitting ones will be shortlisted from every constituency and submitted to Parliamentary Board, the highest decision making body in selection of candidates for elections for consideration and final approval.
Though two sitting MPs from Jammu and Kathua-Udhampur constituency will also figure in the list to be submitted to Parliamentary Board by the Election Committee in its meeting tomorrow, the name of probable candidates from newly carved out Anantnag -Rajouri Parliamentary constituency will also be decided in tomorrow’s meeting.
Sources said BJP is confident of its good performance in both Kathua-Udhampur and Jammu Lok Sabha constituencies in view of Modi Government’s development policy and public welfare and pro-poor schemes. The party is fully eyeing and concentrating on newly carved out Anantnag -Rajouri Lok Sabha seat which has become a prestigious issue for it following the crucial decisions taken by the party for welfare of Gujjars and Bakerwal community and Pahari people who constitute a sizeable number in this constituency.
Sources said BJP is in upbeat mood and confident of romping home in this newly carved out constituency in view of various public friendly decisions taken by Narendra Modi Government which included grant of political reservation to Gujjars and Bakerwals, providing of forest land rights to Gujjars and Bakerwals and sanctioning of large scale Tribal Funds.
Likewise grant of ST status to Paharis and fulfilling the long pending demand of ethnic Pahari groups is considered the master stroke of Modi Government in political circles, sources said, adding the Paharis have been given separate reservation without any interference into already given reservation and ST status to Gujjars and Bakerwals has sent a good message about Modi Government in the community.
Sources said earlier there were apprehensions that Tribal groups may protest against the grant of ST status to Paharis. However from the day Prime Minister, Home Minister, and Lt Governor made it clear that no interference will be made in the reservations already given to Gujjars and Bakerwals, the BJP is confident of its victory on this seat also.
Sources said following the decision of grant of ST status to Paharis and political reservation to Gujjars and Bakerwals the prominent Pahari and Gujjar & Bakerwals are joining the party in large numbers both in Jammu region and Kashmir valley which is an indication that party may get an overwhelming support from these communities who constitute a sizable number in this constituency.
Sources said Union Home Minister, Amit Shah who is a great strategist of the party is chalking out strategy for this seat. Sources said name of party president, Ravinder Raina is making rounds to be fielded from this seat as a probable candidate. Raina has recently visited all the three districts of Kashmir including Anantnag, Kulgam and Shopian and held public meetings there.
Sources said the candidates to be shortlisted by Election Committee of the party tomorrow will be submitted to Central Parliamentary Board of BJP for final decision.
Sources said the meeting will also decide the names of national leaders including Prime Minister and Home Minister as well as party president, J P Nada and other senior leaders and Ministers to address election rallies in the UT. The party is confident that PM, Modi and HM, Amit Shah will address rallies in Anantnag -Rajouri constituency to ensure party’s victory from this seat.
Sources said the short listing of the names by State units is merely a formality as the final decision lies with Parliamentary Board and party High Command. Besides, the Election Committee meeting, the party will also hold the meeting of its Morchas and Manifesto Committee at party headquarters tomorrow.