Exuding confidence that the National Conference (NC) will beat its 1996 tally of 57 seats in the ensuing elections to Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly, NC Provincial President Devender Singh Rana said on Tuesday the party was poised to form a strong, stable and responsive government in the state.

“Given the support of the people, NC will improve and surpass its 1996 tally of 39 assembly seats in Kashmir, 15 in Jammu and three in Ladakh region.” Rana told mediapersons in Jammu.

He added: “Equipped with high degree of public good-will and robust booth level cadre NC will emerge with flying colours and serve the people and steering the state to peace, progress and development. The recent poll outcome in the three seats the party contested is testimony of the public support, which is available in immense measure in all the three regions.”

Rana slammed the BJP for twisting the statistics, and said this spoke of its fear and frustration in the wake of imminent rejection by the people of Jammu & Kashmir. In their enthusiasm, he added, the BJP leaders were forgetting that NC did not contest the Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Ladakh.

“Therefore, they have no reason to celebrate over the so-called edge in some constituencies,” he said, reminding the BJP of the clean sweep NC registered in the three constituencies it contested.

“Jammu has suffered the most during the BJP’s over three years of ‘misrule’ in partnership with the PDP, and the electorate has firmed up resolve to teach the party a lesson by power of their votes for the betrayal,” Rana said, adding that fear of defeat had unnerved the BJP leadership, and that was why they were indulging in name calling and mudslinging.

“Political naivety and immaturity is hugely discernible in the BJP’s discourse,” he said, adding that this did not augur well for the democratic polity.

Rana advised the BJP leadership to come of age and go for extensive introspection over the failures in a sensitive state like Jammu and Kashmir, where it failed miserably in feeling the pulse of the people and assuaging their economic, developmental and political aspirations.

He said the BJP leaders had exposed themselves during their stint in the ministry, which cost the people hugely and pushed it to uncertainty and instability.

“How long will you hide under the umbrella of central leadership and get on with misadventures, which touched dangerous proportions during over three years of misrule in the state,” Rana asked and advised them to read “writing on the wall” and apologise to the people of Jammu for “ditching” them.

Rana castigated the BJP for “hoodwinking public opinion” by generating euphoria over the issue of Chief Minister from Jammu, saying it betrayed the truth as the party surrendered to the PDP by not insisting for a rotational CM in 2015.

Last year, the BJP desperately pitched to form the government by aligning and surrendering the chief ministership to two-member Kashmir-based political outfit, he added.

“Why didn’t they talk of Jammu Chief Minister at that point of time,” Rana said, adding that lust for power could lead the BJP to compromise with the Jammu pride and dignity. By playing second fiddle to the two-member Kashmir based party, he said, the BJP had insulted the Jammu psyche. He accused the BJP of undermining the understanding and political sagacity of the people of Jammu.

The NC provincial president dared the BJP to spell out just 10 initiatives for Jammu’s growth during the party’s tenure in the government between 2015 and 2018, saying the people of Jammu had a right to know this, as they gave it a huge mandate in 2014.

He said the BJP would have to answer as to what happened to its recruitment drive for the border youth, construction of bunkers and allotment of 5 marla plots to border dwellers.

“Will the BJP say how many educated unemployed youth were provided jobs in their tenure; why the flagship projects of AIIMS and three Medical Colleges are still on papers; what happened to Smart City project; why implementation of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana could not take off; why Artificial Lake Project and Tawi River Front Project on the pattern of so-called Sabarmati Project did not materialise; why the party failed to regularise the daily wagers and others despite a blueprint drawn by the previous Omar Abdullah-led government?” Rana fired a volley of questions.

He also asked as to why the BJP governments at the Centre and in the state reduced the one-time settlement of POK refugees to a paltry Rs 5 lakh per family instead of the recommended Rs 25 lakh per family by the National Conference-led government.