Shah’s large public meeting in Baramulla reflects changing situation in Valley: BJP
New Delhi: With the Election Commission preparing the groundwork for assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir, senior BJP leaders Thursday said the large turnout at Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s public meeting in Baramulla was indicative of changing situation in the Valley.
With the home minister ruling out any talks with Pakistan, BJP leaders said they will have no truck with any party that advocates dialogue with the neighbouring country or has any links with the Jamaat-e-Islami, which has been banned, or the Hurriyat Conference, a separatist outfit.
“We will have no political association with any such party,” a senior party leader said in an interaction with reporters when asked about the BJP’s strategy in the Union territory.
The Valley’s two main political parties, the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party, have often spoken in favour of a dialogue with Pakistan for restoring peace in the militancy-hit Union territory.
“Why should we speak to Pakistan which has promoted terrorism in our land for bringing peace in a part of our country? In fact, the suggestion that India should speak to Pakistan for ending terrorist violence in Jammu and Kashmir is an acknowledgement that the country is behind it,” a leader said. “Our government is working to root out militants,” he asserted.
BJP sources also discounted the possibility of having any alliance with the Democratic Azad Party, which was recently launched by Ghulam Nabi Azad after he quit the Congress. The BJP is confident of doing well in the polls whenever they are held, they said.
A top party leader claimed it was well after three decades that a senior Union cabinet minister has addressed a rally in Baramulla, a north Kashmir district once considered a hotbed of terrorism, and said the Centre’s welfare measures like free cooking gas connection and healthcare under ‘Ayushman Bharat’ enjoy a lot of traction on the ground.
Shah’s rallies in Jammu division’s Rajouri on Tuesday and in Baramulla on Wednesday have boosted the party’s morale as it prepares for the polls, which is likely to be announced by the Election Commission after its exercise to prepare the electoral rolls is over.
Rejecting any dialogue with Pakistan on Kashmir, Shah on Wednesday said his government was more interested in talking to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, and assured them that the assembly polls will be held with “full transparency”.
At his first public rally in the Valley after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019, Shah, in his 27-minute speech at Showkat Ali stadium in Baramulla district, trained his guns at leaders from opposition parties NC, PDP and Congress with frequent references to the “three families”, “Mufti and company” and “Abdullah and sons”.
“Those people who ruled here for 70 years advise me to talk to Pakistan. I have a clear intention that I don’t want to talk to Pakistan, but I want to talk to my Gujjar, Pahari and Bakerwal brothers of Baramulla,” he said.