As the face of the BJP, the prime minister yet again proved that he is the biggest vote-catcher for the saffron party and his popularity has not diminished one bit even after over nine years in office.
Amid reports of the BJP preparing for high-profile rallies in Jammu & Kashmir ahead of the Lok Sabha election, the opposition parties in the Union territory will meet here on October 3 to hammer out their poll strategy.
Much is at stake for the BJP that scrapped Article 35A using provisions of Article 370. This will be the first election that J&K will face after that move. The BJP leadership is expected to make this issue one of their main electoral points.
The BJP’s top leadership, including the prime minister, Narendra Modi, and the home minister, Amit Shah, along with the party president, JP Nadda, will hold pre-poll functions in Jammu and the Kashmir valley. Modi is expected to address two functions and Shah is expected to speak in four functions, which will set the tone for the election campaign.
The drill for the urban local body elections that were due within the next two months has reportedly been shelved as the BJP would prefer to go directly for the Lok Sabha polls instead of diverting its energy for these elections. The BJP leadership has come under criticism for the reported move to defer the urban local body elections across J&K.
Opposition leaders have claimed that the BJP was scared to face these elections as its graph has considerably declined in the Jammu region, which was considered the party’s stronghold. They say if the “security situation” was the reason for not holding the local body elections, then the same reason is good enough for not holding the Lok Sabha election.
CPM leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, who is spokesman of the opposition alliance, announced that a meeting of all opposition parties will meet on October 3 at the residence of the National Conference chief, Dr Farooq Abdullah, as the government has taken a decision now on urban local body elections. It seems these elections will not take place now, he added.
The UT has five Lok Sabha seats, and the BJP activists are expecting positive results for their candidates out of the recent delimitation of constituencies. However, sharing of seats among the opposition parties might be a ticklish exercise as the National Conference represents all three seats of Kashmir in the Lok Sabha. The PDP and the Congress might seek their share of seats.
Earlier this week, Shah and Nadda held separate meetings with the top J&K party leaders to discuss the upcoming elections and ways to strengthen the organization. BJP national general secretary (organisation) BL Santosh, Union minister Dr Jitendra Singh, J&K BJP in charge Tarun Chugh, J&K BJP co-in charge Ashish Sood, J&K BJP president Ravinder Raina, former deputy chief ministers Kavinder Gupta and Nirmal Singh, and Devender Singh Rana were among those present in these meetings.