Nation First, Govt Next: Amit Shah on J&K

BJP president Amit Shah and MoS in PMO Dr Jitendra Singh at senior party leaders meeting in Jammu on Saturday. —Excelsior/Rakesh
BJP president Amit Shah and MoS in PMO Dr Jitendra Singh at senior party leaders meeting in Jammu on Saturday. —Excelsior/Rakesh

*No compromise on status of J&K: Dr Jitendra
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Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Apr 29: BJP national president Amit Shah said today that Narendra Modi Government was fully seized of Kashmir problem and would take “appropriate and adequate’’ measures for restoration of peace and normalcy in the Kashmir valley even as he asserted ‘Nation First, Government Next’ approach of the BJP dropping enough hints that BJP could even sacrifice Government in Jammu and Kashmir in the interest of nation, if the need arises.
In his meeting with top BJP functionaries at Jammu Convention Centre this morning, his first programme of three-day tour to Jammu, Amit Shah, who recently led the BJP to impressive victory in Uttar Pradesh and three other States, is reported to have said during two-hour long meeting that senior functionaries of the State Government, security agencies and BJP leaders have briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on situation prevailing in Jammu and Kashmir and steps required to restore peace in the disturbed Valley.
Shah, who was on first visit to the State after formation of first ever PDP-BJP Government in Jammu and Kashmir, made it clear that Kashmir was, is and will always remain an integral part of India and there should be no doubt in minds of anyone on this.
“The Central Government is taking regular views of State Government, security agencies, BJP leaders and other concerned persons on Jammu and Kashmir. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had himself chaired very high-level meeting on Kashmir situation in New Delhi recently. The Government will take ‘appropriate and adequate steps’ to deal with the situation and restore law and order,’’ Shah told the party leaders.
Insiders told the Excelsior that Amit Shah was very clear on BJP’s approach towards Kashmir that there can be no compromise on national interests but, at the same time, the party can take on board those who believe in non-violence, listen to their grievances and address them.
Shah reached here in the morning from New Delhi and was accompanied by Union Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Dr Jitendra Singh, BJP national general secretary (Incharge Organization), Ram Lal, BJP general secretary, Incharge Jammu and Kashmir Ram Madhav, Dr Anil Jain, general secretary, Avinash Rai Khanna and other senior party leaders. They were welcomed at the Airport by Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Nirmal Singh, all BJP Ministers, legislators, State office bearers and senior party leaders.
Political observers said Shah’s categorical statement of ‘Nation First, Government Next’ in the context of PDP-BJP Government in Jammu and Kashmir assumed very significance and was clear indication that Kashmir is always core issue of the party and it was not going to compromise its stand at any cost even if the party had to sacrifice its Government in the State.
Sources said Amit Shah had some tough talks to do with the State BJP Ministers, legislators (both MLAs and MLCs), office bearers and other senior functionaries as he set target for them for 2019 Lok Sabha and 2021 Assembly elections.
Shah wanted BJP to work hard to retain three Lok Sabha seats the party had won in 2014 Parliamentary polls and try to extract one seat from Kashmir, which would be a bonus. He categorically told the party Ministers and leaders to ensure that the party is managed to retain all three Lok Sabha seats.
For Assembly election, Amit Shah called upon the BJP leaders to go all out for 37 Assembly seats of Jammu region and four from Ladakh and try to get 40 of them. “If we manage to get three to four seats from Kashmir that would be an added bonus,’’ he was reported to have said while setting agenda for Assembly elections-2021 in which the party would go all out to form the Government on its own with the support of few Independent MLAs, if required.
The BJP in 2014 Parliamentary polls had won three Lok Sabha seats in J&K including both of Jammu region and lone seat of Ladakh while three seats of Kashmir had gone to the PDP. However, Srinagar Lok Sabha seat now went to NC in the by-poll. In 2014 Assembly polls, BJP had won 25 out of 37 seats of Jammu region, but drew a blank in Kashmir and Ladakh.
Sources said a number of senior party functionaries openly targeted some of the Ministers, party MLAs and MLCs and State office bearers for completely neglecting them as well as letting down the people of Jammu and Ladakh with their deeds and doing nothing to expand the party bases.
The party functionaries said some Cabinet Ministers of the BJP do more work of Congress workers than BJP and they have virtually become the “Congress men in BJP’’.  The leaders said the basic facilities have become a major casualty in Jammu with people suffering very badly on this account and this could cause the BJP very dearly in the long run. They charged that some of the Ministers and party legislators have completely got themselves disconnected with party workers and people.
They were of the view that even senior leaders of the party don’t ask for any work to some of the Ministers citing that they were not in speaking terms with them. “This could affect the party prospectus in the time to come,’’ they said, adding that not only some of the Ministers but even the party office bearers have become inaccessible to party workers and the people.
Noting that Amit Shah was flooded with complaints against some of the Ministers, legislators and office bearers, he took note of them and directed them to immediately take corrective measures by maintaining close liaison with party workers and the people.
Apart from Ministers, insiders said, the party leader also targeted some of the party MLAs for not visiting constituencies for months together leaving the party workers in lurch, who were unable to explain to the people the absence of their representatives.
In his address to Intellectuals this evening, Amit Shah said BJP is the only party, which has the ideology and development model with inclusive growth.
“Congress has no ideology and was being run on family politics. The party, which has only family rule can’t grow,’’ he said.
He said there were four models of governance in different States of the country including the Government runs by Congress, regional parties like Samajwadi Party etc and the BJP Government in 13 States.
“The BJP model has been rated as the best models in the country with all-round development and inclusive growth,’’ he said.
Referring to growth of the BJP, he said the party today has 310 MPs, 1397 MLAs and was ruling 13 States and having four coalition Governments. At least 70 per cent population in the country is being governed by the BJP, he added and disclosed that the BJP today has 11 crore members in the country.
Amit Shah said the Centre Government has given series of projects to Jammu and Kashmir Government including two AIIMS, five Medical Colleges and above all Rs 80,000 crores worth development package.
Referring to the scenario before formation of Narendra Modi Government at the Centre, he recalled that the country had no future…youths were on streets…the then Prime Minister went abroad but was not welcome there…all Ministers were behaving like the Prime Minister and none gave due respect to the Prime Minister. There was virtual policy crisis.
“In such a situation, Modi took over the Government with BJP becoming first party to get full majority after 30 years. Now you can do analysis of three years of the Government and you will see the difference. Manmohan Singh Government had left the country with four per cent growth and today India is world’s fastest growing economy,’’ the BJP president said.
He listed series of welfare schemes announced by Modi during past three years.
In his address, Minister of State in the PMO, Dr Jitendra Singh said there will be no compromise on the status of Jammu and Kashmir whatever the circumstances or political arrangements.
“We will never compromise our stand on Kashmir,’’ Dr Jitendra Singh said, adding even when BJP was not in power at the Centre or the State, it was in forefront of ensuring justice for Jammu and upholding forces nationalism.
He said Narendra Modi Government has listed Jammu and Kashmir as top priority of the Government, which was evident from the fact that he had launched his election campaign for Lok Sabha elections from Jammu after offering prayers at holy cave shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi Ji and after becoming the Prime Minister, he again addressed his main function at Katra, the base camp of the shrine, after launching train service.
“Jammu and Kashmir is nucleus and nerve centre of BJP in the country. Whenever there is untoward or unfortunate incident, the concern and pain is felt in every nook and corner of the country,’’ Dr Jitendra Singh said.
He added that during floods in the Kashmir Valley, the Centre had immediately rendered all financial and other help to the State and gave it highest ever package of Rs 80,000 crores. The Prime Minister went to Kashmir and spend Diwali with flood victims, he recalled.
Dr Jitendra Singh said 25 years of terrorism has thrown back Jammu and Kashmir by centuries. “Had there been no terrorism, Jammu would have become Jallandhar and Srinagar would have been like Hyderabad’’.
However, he said, the silver lining is that common man and youth of Jammu, Srinagar and Leh now want return of normalcy so that they can join the development journey initiated by the Prime Minister.
Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh hoped that normalcy would be restored in the Kashmir Valley shortly as Centre and State Governments have taken steps in this direction. He said with the support of the Centre, the developmental works were being taken forward by the State Government.
Lauding Rs 80,000 crores worth Prime Minister’s Developmental Package, Dr Singh hoped that it would give much boost to infrastructure development in Jammu and Kashmir. He hailed the Centre for its support and cooperation to the State Government.
Dr Nirmal Singh lauded the Centre for giving IIT, IIM, two AIIMS, five Medical Colleges, various other projects, Rs 80,000 crores worth PMDP and several schemes in power sector to the State.
Late tonight, the BJP Core Group meeting was chaired by Amit Shah in which J&K situation – both on security and political fronts – and party’s strategy figured.


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