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Broke up because PDP stalled progress: Amit Shah

Jammu, Jun 23: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) National President Amit Shah came down heavily on his party’s former alliance partner in Jammu and Kashmir, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), indicating that the BJP has started early preparations for the Lok Sabha elections in 2019.

Shah, who flew to Jammu on Saturday to commemorate the death anniversary of party ideologue Syama Prasad Mookerjee, said the BJP had patiently waited four years, but the Mehbooba Mufti-led government did not implement any of the programmes framed by the central government. He claimed that sanctioning funds and schemes is the Centre duty, but their proper implementation is the state government’s responsibility.

He also accused the PDP of meting out biased treatment to Jammu and Ladakh, a sentiment widely shared by the people of the region. “Many people ask us why we withdrew support to the PDP, and I know my answer can create controversies. I must say we entered the alliance with the PDP for balanced development of all three regions, but the state government failed to keep this promise,” Shah claimed.

“The future of Jammu’s children was being played with… The PDP stalled all progress for them. No financial help was extended to Jammu despite the Centre sanctioning Rs 80,000 crore for its development,” Shah said.

He also said that the BJP wanted equal development in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, but the PDP was not interested in forwarding plans that were in the interest of the Jammu region.

“The truth is that the PDP was not interested in sharing resources for Jammu… It even refused to give land to set up an AIIMS in Jammu. We had announced establishing five medical colleges in Jammu and Kashmir, of which three were in Jammu. In all other places, academic sessions have started, but the formalities of the colleges in the Jammu region have yet to be completed,” Shah said. “How could we have stayed part of such a government?”

Amit Shah attacked both the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the National Conference (NC), saying “We had allotted Rs 40 crore for the development of Pashmina & Rs 45 crore for Pampore haat. The two families from NC & PDP ruled J&K for three generations but never did anything for Pashmina or Pampore haat.”

The BJP president also launched a book on the life of Mookerjee, who the BJP believes was murdered because he opposed the implementation of Article 370, which grants special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Earlier on Saturday, Shah reviewed the party’s preparations and strategy for the Lok Sabha elections due next year. This was his first visit to the state after the saffron party withdrew from coalition government with the PDP in the state.

The BJP chief was accorded a rousing reception, with the party’s youth wing taking out a bike rally from the airport to the state guest house.

“The BJP president chaired several meetings and reviewed organisational functioning and preparations for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls and its strategy,” a senior BJP leader told PTI. Shah also chaired the party’s election committee meeting to discuss the issues for the next election, he added.

The top leadership of the party’s state unit briefed the BJP chief about the political situation after Governor’s Rule was imposed in the state on Wednesday. They briefed him about the party’s upcoming programmes in the state in view of the 2019 elections and also updated him about the current programmes in the state.

Shah’s public address assumes significance, given the evolving political situation in Jammu and Kashmir since the break-up of the BJP-PDP alliance, an alliance that was popularly termed the coming together of the north and south poles by late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who had first agreed to the tie-up.

The BJP president was accompanied by state unit chief Ravinder Raina and other senior leaders at the programmes he attended.