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BJP is people's compulsion, not their choice
Taking Jammu, Ladakh for a ride
1/24/2018 12:29:51 AM
Early Times Report
Jammu, Jan 23: The BJP is, it appears, living in a watertight compartment. It has lost touch with those who gave it status and accorded it respectability in 2014 by voting for it on an unprecedented scale. It was expected that the BJP would appreciate the fall of the Congress and the NC and its rise on the political horizon in the state and discharge its duty towards its constituency in Jammu and Ladakh, the two highly neglected and marginalized regions in the state. The hope had stemmed from the role it and its earlier incarnation Bharatiya Jana Sangh consistently played in highlighting the issues facing the people of these two regions, fighting for their political, social and economic aspirations and exposing the separatist politics in Kashmir through protests, dharnas, prolonged agitations and other constitutional means.
The fact of the matter is that the people of Jammu and Ladakh always felt somewhat secure before the BJP came into power after negating the mandate in the state. The Jammu mandate was clearly against the policies and programmes of all the Kashmir-based political parties. The BJP got votes from Jammu and Ladakh from those who were fed up with the discriminatory policies of the Kashmiri parties.
None had ever expected that the BJP will do a complete U-turn and do something which the BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi had spoken against so loudly at MAM Stadium in Jammu on December 1, 2013 during the largely-attended Lalkar Rally. Narendra Modi had identified and attacked four Kashmir leaders using all kinds of epithets against them and had sought votes from Jammu and Ladakh to help him introduce a new politics in the state.
Sadly, the BJP did just the opposite in a most brazen manner after getting mandate from both Jammu and Ladakh. Believing that the people of Jammu and Ladakh were in its pocket, the BJP jumped on to the bandwagon of those who were known for their bias against Jammu and Ladakh and without any reservation and protest in and outside the assembly endorsed what the Kashmiri leadership systematically did to exclude the people of Jammu and Ladakh from all walks of life.
Early Times has catalogued all that the authorities did to harm Jammu before and after March 2014 in these columns. Hence, no need to reflect on all those things. Suffice to give just one example. Only recently, the concerned authorities issued a list of selected teachers for Jammu & Kashmir schools, which shocked the people of Jammu and Ladakh. The reason: Srinagar district got 550 new teachers. In contrast, Jammu district, which is larger than Srinagar both in terms of population and area, and Ladakh, which is the largest region of the state, were not considered fit even for one new post of general or science of math teacher.
It was for the first time that Jammu and Ladakh witnessed such a naked and blatant discrimination. The worst aspect of the whole situation was that the BJP -- instead of taking on the recruitment agency -- defended the exclusion of Jammu and Ladakhi youth, thus indicating that it had abandoned its constituency to keep its new masters in Kashmir happy, in good humour and on its right side. On Monday, the BJP irritated the people of Jammu all the more when its MLCs staged a walk out from the Council over the issue of appointment of over 9000 Special Police Officers in Kashmir and less than 15,000 from Jammu.
The result is that the people or its constituency in Jammu and Ladakh is drifting away from it with each passing moment. If the BJP is to remain relevant, it has to rethink and do what it used to do before March 2014 otherwise the results for it would be disastrous.
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