Shah sets stiff target of Assembly seats, membership for J&K BJP

State leaders told to focus on all 3 regions
Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, June 17: BJP president and Union Home Minister Amit Shah is reported to have called upon the State unit of the party to be prepared for the Assembly elections and expand the party’s reach to all three regions including Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh instead of confining it to Jammu region alone.
Shah has set a stiff target of 25 lakh membership for J&K unit of the BJP as against present 5 lakh i.e. an increase of 5 times as against the target of 20 percent increase for other States, party insiders told the Excelsior.
“The BJP State unit has been asked to be ready for the Assembly elections and focus preparations not only in Jammu region but also in Kashmir and Ladakh to increase the party tally in the Assembly, which was 25 in the last House. The BJP top leaderships wants the Assembly seats to cross 35 if number of the Assembly seats remain static at 87 in the absence of Delimitation Commission. However, the target of seats will be revised if number of total seats in the Assembly is increased in case the Delimitation Commission is set up,” the insiders said.
Assembly elections are due in Maharashtra and Haryana in October, Jharkhand in December this year and Delhi in February next year. Barring Delhi, all other three States are ruled by the BJP. However, conduct of Assembly elections in the State is prerogative of the Election Commission of India, which had recently announced that it will hold Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir by the end of this year. It had also said that schedule of the Assembly elections will be declared after completion of annual pilgrimage of Shri Amarnath Ji cave shrine on August 15.
The BJP leaders said presently the party high command has listed Jammu and Kashmir as a poll-bound State along with Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkhand and New Delhi.
In 2014 Assembly elections, the BJP had won its all 25 Assembly seats from Jammu region but, according to party insiders, the BJP national leadership has directed the State unit to equally focus on Kashmir and Ladakh regions. The BJP had gained lead in three out of four Assembly segments of Ladakh Parliamentary seat in recent Lok Sabha elections and had, for the first time, led in Tral Assembly constituency of Kashmir. It had leads in total 29 Assembly seats including 25 in Jammu region, three in Ladakh and one in Kashmir.
The BJP couldn’t get lead in Doda, Kishtwar and Bhaderwah Assembly seats, which it had won in 2014 Assembly polls, in the recent Lok Sabha elections mainly because of Congress-NC-PDP alliance. The party feels it will be able to get back these seats in the Assembly elections which the NC, Congress and PDP are likely to contest separately.
The BJP State unit has been asked to ensure that it managed to win at least three Assembly seats in Ladakh, where the party led with impressive margins in last month’s Lok Sabha elections and target three to four Assembly constituencies in the Kashmir valley.
“The BJP has also been asked to concentrate on all three regions to raise its tally to the highest ever beating the previous best record of 25 Assembly seats in 2014,” insiders said.
Meanwhile, BJP president and Union Home Minister Amit Shah has kept stiff target of 25 lakh membership for Jammu and Kashmir unit of the BJP as against present 5 lakh.
“While all States were asked to increase the membership by 20 percent, the J&K unit was directed to raise it to 25 lakh as the BJP membership in J&K was extreme low at only 5 lakh,” the insiders said, adding that the party has been asked to focus in the unrepresented areas like Kashmir and Ladakh divisions and Poonch, Rajouri, Doda and Ramban districts in Jammu region.
It may be mentioned here that the BJP had won three Parliamentary seats in the just held Lok Sabha elections in the State, thus, maintaining its 2014 general elections position. However, it has increased its victory margin in all three Lok Sabha seats. Rest three Lok Sabha seats had gone to National Conference. The PDP and Congress had drawn a blank.