Shah calls BJP Core Group to Delhi for high-level meeting today

  • Party’s readiness for polls may come up for review
  • Various issues of UT likely to be discussed

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Sept 24: Union Home Minister Amit Shah will chair Core Group meeting of Jammu and Kashmir BJP unit at party headquarters in New Delhi tomorrow amid reports that possible elections to Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) and Panchayats and Lok Sabha elections early next year could be on the agenda besides other issues of the Union Territory.
Union Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Dr Jitendra Singh and Jugal Kishore Sharma, the two BJP MPs from the UT, Ravinder Raina, UT chief, Ashok Koul, general secretary (Organizations), Kavinder Gupta and Dr Nirmal Singh, both former Deputy Chief Ministers, Devender Singh Rana, Sunil Sethi, Sat Sharma, Devender Manyal, Sunil Sharma, Vibodh Gupta and Shakti Parihar among others have been invited to the meeting.
BJP national president Jagat Prakash Nadda may also attend.
BJP general secretary, Incharge Jammu and Kashmir Tarun Chug and co-Incharge Ashish Sood are also likely to be present.
Party insiders told the Excelsior that the meeting is scheduled to be held at 11 AM at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi.
Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, who is in New Delhi, may also separately meet the Union Home Minister to brief him on security scenario, development works and various other aspects of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
The BJP leaders who spoke to the Excelsior said they got a call to attend the meeting at the party headquarters at 11 AM tomorrow but were not briefed on agenda.
“Union Home Minister Amit Shah will chair the meeting,” they added.
The Municipal and Panchayat elections are due to be held between October-December as the two bodies will complete their five-year term in next couple of months. In 2018, the BJP fared well in Municipal bodies in Jammu region including all-powerful Jammu Municipal Corporation while Panchayat polls were held on non-party basis.
However, there were reports that a section of BJP leaders favoured ULB and Panchayat polls to be held after Lok Sabha election in April-May next year as they want to focus on Parliamentary polls first. Another section of BJP wants Municipal and Panchayat elections to be held first so that they can test their strength.
However, it is the J&K Government which has to take a call on these elections in consultations with the Union Home Ministry after taking security scenario into consideration.
Party leaders said Shah is expected to take the opinion of BJP’s Core Group and review the party’s preparations for the elections.
Lok Sabha elections are also almost six months away from now and the BJP this time wants to increase its tally in Jammu and Kashmir from two to three. In 2014 and 2019, the BJP had won Udhampur-Doda and Jammu-Poonch seats with Dr Jitendra Singh and Jugal Kishore Sharma emerging the winners.
The BJP, as per the insiders, has been eyeing third seat this time which is South Kashmir-Poonch which was created with districts comprising parts of South Kashmir like Anantnag and Pulwama besides Poonch district and half of Rajouri district by the Delimitation Commission. This seat has large number of Pahari voters to whom the Central Government is going to give Scheduled Tribe (ST) status before Parliamentary polls. In case of usual low turnout in the Valley, the BJP sees a chance to get this seat too.
Party leaders said the Union Home Minister could also discuss the issues which Jammu region recently faced leading to a call for bandh and agitation for some days against installation of Smart Meters, Sarore Toll Plaza etc.
“The BJP’s preparations for all type of elections-be the Urban and Rural Local Bodies, Parliament and Assembly are expected to come up for a review in the meeting,” the leaders said, adding the Core Group leaders will give their view point on the situation.
The UT BJP leaders are also expected to take up certain issues pertaining to the administration of Jammu and Kashmir, they said.