NEW DELHI: In a clear indication that Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir could be announced soon, the BJP on Wednesday appointed party vice president Avinash Rai Khanna as the election in-charge for the state. The organisational appointment follows the BJP working president J P Nadda’s key meeting with the 13-member core group of the party from the state, led by Ravindra Raina, on Tuesday.
Briefing reporters, BJP national general secretary Arun Singh said the core group meeting resolved to add 5,000 active party workers in the state, while adding that about 2.37 lakh new members have joined the outfit during the ongoing membership drive. Khanna has previously been party in-charge of Rajasthan. His appointment has come amid Nadda planning to visit J&K within the next fortnight to formally launch the party’s bid to wrest power in the state. The BJP leaders claimed that Assembly elections would be held in October-November.
Even as the poll preparations began in Delhi, there is still panic in the Valley. Attacking the National Conference and PDP for creating fear on troops deployment in the Valley, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav on Wednesday said, “Unnecessary fear is being created by local regional parties (National Conference and PDP) for their political interests.” The Narendra Modi government will take all necessary steps for the benefit of J&K.
“BJP’s stand on Article 35A, which grants special privileges to residents of J&K, is clear. However, it is not the party which is going to decide on the matter,” Madhav said. He was responding to a question whether Article 35A, which bars outsiders from purchasing land and property in the state.
Madhav said the decision on Article 35A would be taken by Prime Minister and his government.
On Enforcement Directorate questioning Farooq Abdullah in Chandigarh today, he said, “Today somebody is being questioned in Chandigarh. Don’t be surprised if tomorrow someone else is questioned in Srinagar”.
CEO calls meeting with poll machinery
The ball has been set rolling for conduct of Assembly elections in J&K with the state’s chief electoral officer set to convene a meeting with district officials for review of the process and political parties gearing up for the polls likely to be held later this year. Chief electoral officer (CEO) Shailendra Kumar will hold a video-conference meeting with the 22 district election officers and other poll staffers on August 2, according to an official order.
Cabinet nod for J&K EWS quota
The Cabinet in its meeting on Wednesday approved a legislative proposal to extend the 10 per cent reservation for economically weaker sections (EWS) in employment and educational institutions in J&K. The Cabinet also gave its nod to a legislative proposal to regulate the chit fund deposits. “The Cabinet has decided to bring a legislative proposal in the ongoing Budget session of Parliament to ensure that EWS reservation is implemented in J&K,” said Union Minister for information and broadcasting Prakash Javadekar.