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BJP on the back foot, under severe attack
Struggle for AIIMS
3/30/2015 11:59:44 PM
Early Times Report

Jammu, Mar 30: The BJP has been under severe attack since March 1, when the PDP-BJP coalition government was formed and the coalition partners released the "Agenda of Alliance". It has been under attack for several reasons. One of them is its failure to respect the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's February 28, 2015 announcement in the Lok Sabha that Jammu will get Rs 1600-crore All-India Institute of Medical Sciences and Kashmir will get IIT and IIM. The Agenda of Alliance shocked the people of Jammu region because it said that Kashmir will get prestigious AIIMS and Jammu will get white elephants like IIM and IIT.
The people of Jammu region have termed the reversal of the decision as an "act of betrayal" and have threatened an agitation against the BJP. The parties which have taken the issue very seriously are National Panthers Party (NPP) and Jammu Pradesh United Front (JPUF), a conglomerate of 15 smaller political groups, all based in Jammu. Even the Congress has upped its ante against the BJP and charged it with playing foul with the people of Jammu region.
However, it is the NPP that has taken the first lead and has been organizing protest demonstrations and holding press conferences to expose the BJP and force it to reverse its decision so that the AIIMS is established in Jammu region. Only yesterday, the JKNPP held a day-long protest demonstration in Jammu under the leadership of its chairman and former minister Harsh Dev Singh. Addressing the party workers at the dharna, Harsh Dev Singh lambasted the BJP and rebuked the ruling coalition in general and the BJP in particular for letting down the people of Jammu region. The ruling dispensation has administered "clandestinely a severe discriminatory doze to Jammu region…The BJP has conceded AIIMS to Kashmir that was actually sanctioned for Jammu region just to appease its senior partner...
The people of Jammu region are feeling hoodwinked, betrayed and humiliated. The frustration and anger is brewing and seething among the masses, which would anytime explode and blow the BJP to smithereens," he said, adding that the BJP would become a story of the past in case it didn't get the AIIMS transferred back to Jammu. He and other JKNPP leaders termed the transfer of AIIMS to Kashmir as an "act of political debauchery".
It is pertinent to mention here that on February 28, Finance Minister Jaitley had categorically and unequivocally announced that the sanctioned AIIMS will be established in Jammu. The Finance Ministry's announcement was reportedly conveyed to the Jammu and Kashmir Government. Jitendra Singh, the MoS in PMO, had also issued a statement from New Delhi the same day and thanked the Finance Minister "for having sanctioned AIIMS for Jammu and Institute of Film Production (IFP) for Arunachal Pradesh". It is also important to note that the BJP-led NDA government headed by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had taken the decision to establish AIIMS in Jammu. The then Union Health Minister Sushma Swaraj had laid the foundation stone for AIIMS in Jammu, but after the fall of the Vajpayee government nothing was done to upgrade the Jammu Medical College and Hospital to the level of AIIMS.
The demand of the people of Jammu region is genuine considering the facts that Jammu's Medical College and Hospital is ill-equipped, under-staffed and not in a position to cater to the needs of the people of Jammu region, that Kashmir already Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Which is equivalent to AIIMS and that the Valley also has medical College and hospital. The JKNPP was right when it on Saturday said: "Jammu region needs an institute like AIIMS disparately which could provide backup to the inadequate and deficient medical infrastructure in the region. It would provide prompt and timely health care services to the patients who are often referred to Chandigarh or New Delhi for their treatment due to the lack of medical facilities".
It is intriguing that the BJP is not seeing the writing on the wall and allowing the situation in Jammu region to go out of hand. It is in power both at the centre and in the state. It can establish another AIIMS in the state like the UPA Government read the writing on the wall in 2010 and 2011 and established another Central University in the state to assuage the hurt feeling of the people of Jammu region. The BJP itself fought for the second Central University.
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