DDC poll results: Gupkari referendum balloon punctured, Jammu again forgave BJP

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JAMMU: The local BJP leadership had lost its face because of its bungling instinct and several acts of political debauchery. Its ministers in the Mehbooba Mufti-led coalition government had missed no opportunity to ditch, humiliate, taunt and insult the people of Jammu province to keep separatist CM Mehbooba Mufti in good humour. The BJP-PDP coalition government’s religious and recruitment policies and willful neglect of Jammu province at all levels had further alienated the people of Jammu province from the local BJP leadership. The role of most of its MLAs and MLCs too had angered the people of Jammu province.
A reference here to just three recent examples concerning employment policy would be in order. One, in September, the J&K School Education Department (JKSED) submitted a proposal to the government for the creation of 2,915 posts of teachers at the Senior Secondary level. It recommended 2,225 posts for Kashmir and only 690 posts for Jammu. The proposal also demonstrated bias against the Dogras and their rich Dogri language and favoured Kashmir and Kashmiri language. It recommended as many as 122 posts of teachers to teach Kashmiri in Kashmir. In contrast, it recommended a paltry five posts of teachers to teach Dogri in Jammu province. Not just this, it recommended 150 posts of teachers to teach Islamic Studies in Kashmir and 93 to impart instructions in Arabic. In contrast, it recommended only 22 posts of teachers to teach Sanskrit and just one to teach Hindi.
The proposal that 254 posts of teachers to teach Islamic Studies, Arabic and Urdu and only 23 posts of teachers to teach Sanskrit and Hindi in J&K UT suggested many things.
Two, in October 2020, the Fire and Emergency Services (F&ES) Department selected 453 applicants from Kashmir and only 231 from Jammu. Worse still, it justified the discrimination with the candidates from Jammu by advancing a spurious argument that the number of applicants from Kashmir was more as compared to the number of candidates from Jammu province. What was all the more shocking was the statement that “15% candidates were selected from Jammu province and only 9% candidates were selected from Kashmir”.
Three, on December 11, Jammu and Kashmir Public Service Commission (JKPSC) issued select list for the posts of Assistant Professor (Clinical Bio-Chemistry) in Higher Education Department. As per the Notification No. 03-PSC (DR-S) of 2020, 11 Open Merit candidates and 01 RBA candidate were selected. All the selected candidates were from Kashmir. They belonged to the majority community. Not one candidate from Jammu – Hindu or Muslim – found place in the select list.
The fact of the matter is that the role of the BJP in the government, legislative assembly and legislative council and outside before 2019 and the role of the J&K BJP as a party before and after 2019 was highly disappointing, disgusting, humiliating and outrageous. They only promoted their own vested interests. They never-ever opposed the unsettling steps being taken at regular intervals by the Muftis to promote jihad, encourage those who wanted to change Jammu’s demography, render the people of Jammu province unreal and ineffective and tarnish their image by painting them rapists and supporters of rapists and even hurt their religious sentiments by promoting cow-killing, beef-eating and bovine smuggling and use police, bureaucracy, revenue magistracy to hurt the national cause and grievously injure even the general civil and democratic rights of the people of Jammu province. That the local BJP leadership had betrayed the people of Jammu province could also be seen from the manner in which the PDP-BJP coalition government had fired two law officers over the cow-killing and beef-eating issues and the BJP forced two of its cabinet ministers to tender resignation to appease and please Mehbooba Mufti.
Convinced that the estranged people of Jammu province would reject the BJP candidates in the DDC polls, the party high command sent to the UT of J&K almost two dozen senior leaders and Union Ministers to manage the election-related issues and campaign to retrieve the lost ground. Some of them included Smriti Irani, General BK Singh Anurag Thakur, Mukhtar Abas Naqvi, national general secretary Tarun Chug, former minister Shahnawaz Hussain and RS MP Zafar Islam. Other factor which had made the party high command to deploy in strength central leaders and ministers was the rise of the ragtag Gupkar gang consisting of seven essentially secessionist Kashmiri leaders, including former CMs, and the devious alliance between them and the Congress. All had given the Kashmiri Muslim voters to understand that the DDC poll verdict in favour of the Gupkaris will be a referendum against PM Narendra Modi and for the restoration of Articles 35A and 370. The truth is that the BJP high command knew it full well that the defeat of the BJP in Jammu province will have serious ramifications at the national and international level and, hence, an all-out effort to win as many seats as possible not only in Jammu province but also in Kashmir.
The BJP bigwigs again and again crisscrossed the length and breadth of the UT, campaigned extensively and sought votes and mandate on such planks as national integration, Indian sovereignty, development, responsive administration and corruption-free dispensation. They left no stone unturned to expose the Gupkaris and their acts of omission and commission. The election strategy devised meticulously and employed with full force by the party high command paid dividends. The BJP swept polls in Jammu province’s Kathua, Samba, Jammu, Udhampur and Doda districts and also performed reasonably well in the Reasi district. However, they failed to turn the tables on their political foes in Kishtwar and Ramban, represented in parliament by the MoS in PMO, and Sunderbani-Kalakot-Nowshehra belt, which was represented in the assembly of the erstwhile J&K state by the present J&K BJP chief and a cabinet minister. Had the BJP performed well in these areas, its tally in Jammu province would have been about 80, as against its tally of 72. The BJP also created a history of sorts in Kashmir by winning no less than three seats, including one in Srinagar, the centre of Jihad and headquarters of the Gupkar gang. That it won three seats in Kashmir post-abrogation Article 370 has hurt the Gupkaris where it hurt them the most. Now that the BJP has emerged as the single largest party in the state and got more votes than the Gupkar-Congress combine, it’s time for it to salute and thank the people of Jammu province, who once again forgave its acts of omission and commission in the larger national interest. They would do well to tender unconditional apology and make a solemn commitment that it would always respect the sentiments of its core constituency and get for Jammu province the status of full state. It’s important because no one from Jammu province will become a minister in the 9-member ministry as and when formed as the PAGD is an amalgam of eight parties. They would also do well to underline that the people of Jammu province voted for the PM and the Home Minister, and not for the J&K BJP. Not just this, they must also remember 24X7 the humiliating defeat of two of its former ministers as well as the defeat of the wife of another former minister in Jammu province. (Concluded).

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