Gear up, we will contest on all Assembly seats of J&K: Amit Shah to BJP leaders in Sgr


‘Have worked hard to strengthen party at grassroots’ level over the years across country, regret BJP didn’t fight on Kashmir LS seats

SRINAGAR: Expressing ‘regrets’ of sorts for not contesting on three crucial Kashmir Lok Sabha seats, Union Home Minister Amit Shah Thursday said that the BJP unit of J&K must gear up to contest on all seats in the upcoming Assembly elections slated for September this year.

Shah stated this while interacting with the BJP delegation at The Lalit Palace in Srinagar. The Home Minister arrived in Srinagar this evening amid tight security cover.  As per news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), he met several delegations including Gujjars, Bakerwals, Paharis and Sikhs. At the end, he met the BJP delegation that include BJP’s General Secretary and J&K affairs incharge Sunil Sharma and other leaders—Darakshan Andrabi, Hina Bhat, Sofi Yousuf, Altaf Thakur, Dr GM Mir, Ali Muhammad and Bilal Parray. BJP’s national General Secretary Tarun Chug was also present in the meeting.

A source privy to the meeting, told news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), that Shah in his opening remarks, stated that he has worked very hard to strengthen the BJP at the grassroots level in every nook and corner of the country. “At the onset, Shah expressed a regret of sorts about BJP not contesting the elections on three crucial Lok Sabha seats but maintained that some battles are not fought to defeat the enemy but to check, strengthen and to reinforce the own cadre,” the source revealed.

He said the Union Home Minister stressed on the rank and file of BJP to ensure dynasty rule of National Conference, PDP and Congress is wiped out and for that “you all must vote against these parties in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls for Baramulla constituency and Anantnag-Rajouri Parliamentary seat on May 13 and May 25.”

Shah, according to the source, directed the party men to ensure that the vote of every single BJP worker, leader and activist goes against NC, PDP and Congress.

The source told KNO that during the meeting, Shah made a big announcement that BJP will contest on all seats of J&K in the upcoming Assembly polls slated in September this year. The Supreme Court of India had directed the Centre to hold Assembly polls by September this year.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) had cited security reasons and the ‘NO’ from the J&K administration for not holding Lok Sabha and Assembly polls simultaneously.

A BJP leader, wishing not to be named, told KNO that Shah asked the BJP unit of J&K to gear up and prepare for the upcoming Assembly polls as the party would “contest on all Assembly seats.” In a rally at Jammu recently, Shah had stated that BJP was not in a hurry to see Lotus bloom in J&K in Parliamentary polls. The party contested on two seats of Jammu and Udhampur LS by fielding incumbent Members of Parliament (MPs)—Jugal Kishore Sharma and Dr Jitendera Singh.

It may be recalled after delimitation, the total seats in the assembly rose to 114 seats, of which 24 seats are designated for areas that fall under Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). Out of the remaining 90 seats, 43 seats are in Jammu division and 47 seats are in the Kashmir division.

Shah’s Kashmir visit came just a day after Jamaat-e-Islami expressed its willingness to join the electoral politics again after 1987 subject to the condition if Centre revokes ban imposed on it in 2019 under Unlawful Activities and Prevention Act (UAPA). There was a buzz that a JeI delegation was also likely to meet the Home Minister, however,  there was no confirmation of the same till late evening (Thursday).

Sources privy to Shah’s visit said that the Home Minister will air-dash to New Delhi at 10 am on Friday.