Srinagar, Mar 21: Right-wing BJP has decided to contest on all seats in upcoming polls while eyeing far-flung and Shia-dominated areas to make inroads in Kashmir.
The Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir will be held in five phases beginning April 11. The assembly polls are also expected to be held after the Parliamentary polls.
Buoyed by forming the alliance government with PDP for the first time in the state, and then winning some seats in Panchayat elections, BJP has decided to contest on all seats in the upcoming parliamentary and assembly elections in Kashmir.
On Thursday, BJP announced its candidates for Lok Sabha elections for the three Constituencies in Kashmir province.
As announced by the party on its official Twitter account, Khalid Jahangir will contest from Srinagar, Sofi Yousuf from Anantnag, and Maqbool War from Baramulla Parliamentary constituencies.
BJP leaders have held several meetings in past 10 days where they discussed the party’s strategy.
“Our main focus will be on other backward class (OBC) Muslims, Gujjars and some segments of Shia dominated areas in Kashmir,” a BJP leader told The Kashmir Monitor.
He said that Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Shahnawaz Hussain would hold rallies in Shia dominated areas.
“By focusing on marginalised groups, BJP wants to strengthen its base in the valley. The OBCs, Gujjars are upset with valley-based political parties for ignoring their demands,” the BJP leader said.
He said that party’s main focus was not only Jammu but Kashmir as well.
“This is reason that we won’t announce the chief ministerial candidate from Jammu unlike in the past but will tell voters he could be from any region of the state,” he said.
Earlier, BJP held an OBC conference in Srinagar during which, the BJP leaders promised the participants that they would “address” their issues if they “strengthen” the party in the valley.
Sources said the BJP leaders have also been seeking list from the village heads about the problems in their respective years. They are assuring them that government would provide “all possible help” if they cast their vote in favour of its candidates.
The BJP won 25 seats in the 2014 Assembly elections in Jammu region and the highest vote share of 23 percent for the first time in the electoral history of the state and formed coalition government with the PDP.
BJP State General Secretary (Organisation) Ashok Koul said the party has started the process for the Lok Sabha polls.
He said that BJP was ready for holding both parliamentary and assembly polls in the state.
Asked if the party ran out of seats, what will be next option, he replied, “The options come out on their own at that time. Nobody had thought in 2014 that the PDP will forge an alliance with BJP.
The PDP would otherwise leave no stone unturned to put down BJP. Mayawati and Akhilseh Yadav were poles part but now they came together during election time. This is what happens. So we don’t need to worry about the options. We will have several options if there require any such need.”
He said that party will decide on the chief minister candidate. “He can either be from Jammu, Kashmir, or Ladakh but he will surely be from BJP. People from all parts will vote for us,” he added.