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April 2012



March 28, 2012
Who will benefit from BJP Split in Jammu & Kashmir?

Bhartya Janata Party that had great flourishing potential in Jammu and Kashmir has once again come to the margin courtesy its own follies and internal bickering. An incarnation of Praja Parishad founded by Balraj Madhok and Shayama Prashad Mukherji in early fifties with a pledge to fight out the special status given to this border state, which according to them was a stumbling block in the process of making the state an integral part of the country is itself gasping for survival after about seventy years of its birth. Though the leadership of Praja Parishad and later BJP deserve applaud for their far sight & speculations that the State will drift away from India under article 370 of Indian Constitution with passage of time, their successors couldn’t keep the flame kindling that their elders had lit with their blood and sweat. Consequently, whereas the antinational elements operating in the State continued swelling their base, the nationalist element necessary to fight out the secessionists has been itself struggling for survival. Unfortunately for the local BJP, the heroes of Praja Parishad agitation of 1953, anti-emergency agitation of 1977 and the twenty year long fight against Pak sponsored terrorism stand forgotten and marginalized.

The decaying process of Praja Parishad began with the death of Pandit Prem Nath Dogra the first party Chief in the State when a Jammu based group within the party began sidelining heroes based outside Jammu the, State’s winter capital and strongest base of the party due to its demographic conditions. The first causality was the Party President and MLA from Jammu Sheikh Abdul Rehman hailing from District Doda. A fire brand orator and popular Muslim face of the party, Mr. Rehman popularly known as Sri Rehman was loved in the party to the extent that Pt. Prem Nath Dogra declared him as his heir apparent by tying his turban on former’s head. The continuous intrigues within the organization pushed him to the wall subsequently compelling him to leave the party to join Choudhary Charan Sing’s Lok Dal where he was duly rewarded. This was the first blow to the State BJP because a strong group of vibrant leaders from all corners of the State left the party. The intrigues continued with sidelining of other party stalwarts liken Th. Baldev Singh and Choudhary Chaggar Singh (from Kathua), Rishi Kumar Koushal (from Riasi). The latest victim of party feud was Kotwal Dayakrishan (the living legend of BJP & savior of Doda District) who was defeated twice by fielding rebel candidates. Though the personal agenda of the dominant group in the State BJP succeeded the party suffered a huge set-back not only in all the districts of the State, but in its heartland also where many popular leaders of the party were defeated by fielding proxy candidates not only in Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, but in local body polls as well. But alas, like the waves of ocean the waves of destiny do not travel in a straight line! They have both crests and falls and this has virtually been proved in case of the arrogant BJP leaders who in a bid to dominate the party have themselves been pushed not only to the wall but even beyond that only to prove that those who dig graves for others finally themselves fall in them.
Anyway, this is the fall story of a party that has never seen a rise except in the last Assembly elections when they could get eleven seats courtesy the infamous Amarnath Land Row that had gripped the entire Hindu population of the State by religious sentiments. Whatever fate this right wing party in the State met might be of concern to those who according to them had been shedding their sweat to make Jammu and Kashmir an integral part of India, but for a common man the’ death’ of local BJP has hardly anything interesting because they were already aware that this was the only thing that could happen to this party plagued by internal strife, deceit and selfishness of its local leaders. Interestingly, when I asked one of the prominent RSS activists about the quantum of loss that BJP would suffer in light of the formation of the Democratic Front launched by the dissidents, his reply was curt and straight,” what harm can anybody give to a party that is already nonexistent”! Acting upon the slogan, “The king is dead, long live the King”, the people instead of wasting their energy by thinking about the future of the ‘dead’ party have begun calculating as to who will benefit from its crumbled bastion, the Jammu region of the State of which the approaching local body polls will provide the exact answer.
As the tradition has been, for the people of Jammu, Congress also with nationalist image has remained second choice after BJP. Consequently, whenever they are angry with the BJP, they vote for Congress and vice verse. Last time when people of Jammu were annoyed with Congress on Amarnath land issue they ensured that Congress was duly punished not only in the Assembly elections, but in the Municipal Corporation also benefitting BJP in a big way. This time, however, the Congress party is expected to flourish at the cost of the BJP whose cadres and voters are finding themselves caught in a state of acute bewilderment. But Congress being a coalition partner in the State Government facing a strong anti-incumbency wave may not reap as much benefit as it could individually. To get away from this potential threat the Congress will have to give away an impression that it is now fed up with its coalition partner. If Congress does not take remedial steps to dispel the effect of the anti incumbency factor, the possible beneficiary of the BJP split could be PDP which has swelled its acceptance in the Hindi heartland, where till now its image was of a Kashmir based party. The effect of good governance and equal share in the field of development to all the three regions of the State during Mufti’s short stint as State’s CM is being strongly felt now of which participation of big crowds in PDP’s public meetings in and around Jammu is a proof.
Who benefits from BJP’s internal bickering, for the time being is a matter of guess and speculation, but one thing that can be spelt out right now is that both the factions of this Jammu based party will cut into each other’s influence thus reducing each other to utter insignificance. But there is a positive aspect of this sorrow state of affairs prevailing in the State BJP. Sometimes purges in political parties prove to be very useful. Late Smt. Indira Gandhi had been doing such experiments and this is perhaps this reason that Congress survived the fall out of Emergency and still surviving amidst crisis’s of sorts. BJP may also emerge stronger after the cross voting fall out, but in future only and that too if its local leadership learns lesson and its national leadership does some introspection and spade work to put BJP back on rails in the State.
The author is editor-in Chief of J&K Reporter he can be contacted at
+91 9858185974
or mailed at
ranbirmanhas68@gmail.com

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