Nearly a dozen prominent political workers, including two former National Conference legislators, joined the BJP in Jammu on Sunday, with its Jammu and Kashmir unit president Ravinder Raina exuding confidence of forming the next government on its own in the Union Territory.
BJP national general secretary and Jammu and Kashmir in-charge Tarun Chugh and Mr Raina welcomed the new entrants, along with hundreds of their supporters, into the party fold in presence of senior leaders, including Devender Singh Rana and S S Slathia, who recently joined the saffron party.
Mr Rana, the younger brother of Union Minister Jitendra Singh and provincial president of the National Conference, along with senior party colleague and former minister Mr Slathia had quit his party on October 10 and both of them joined the BJP in Delhi next day.
Majority of those who joined the BJP, including both the former legislators Prem Sagar Aziz and Kamal Arora, are considered close to Mr Rana.
Mr Aziz, former deputy mayor Dharamvir Singh Jamwal, provincial secretary Choudhary Arshid, Samba district president Mohinder Gupta, corporator Ashok Manhas and senior workers Som Nath Khajura and Sardar Succha Singh recently resigned from the National Conference in Rana’s support.
Mr Arora, who had won assembly elections on the National Conference ticket in the 2014 polls, had joined Apni Party in March last year. He along with district president of Apni Party Rinku Bhardwaj joined the BJP.
Accompanied by their supporters wearing different types of turbans representing different cultures, including the Dogras, Sikhs, Gujjars and Bakarwals, the leaders were welcomed by massive sloganeering at the BJP party headquarters where the joining function was organised.
“The new entrants – whether from the National Conference, Congress or the PDP – are welcome with open heart and they will be given due respect and rightful position without any discrimination… the injustice which was going on for decades ended when the prime minister abrogated the discriminatory Article 370 in August 2019 and bestowed Jammu and Kashmir with real freedom,” Mr Chugh said.
He said the gates of BJP are open for all those who want to serve the people and strive hard to strengthen the nationalist forces and the country.
The J&K BJP chief, in his address, said his party is growing bigger with each passing day as people from all walks of life repose faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s slogan of “sabka saath, sabka vikas aur sabka vishwas“.
“The BJP is going to form the next government after the assembly elections on its own and the chief minister will be from our party,” he said, expressing satisfaction over the joining of prominent leaders from different parties.
Former legislator Mr Rana said, “We are all making efforts to strengthen J&K so that we all be part of India’s development and progress under the leadership of the prime minister.”
“We are making attempts to strengthen Jammu, J&K and India. Our endeavour is that a common voice from Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians emerge from Jammu which will work to strengthen the whole Jammu and Kashmir and we all can be part of the development phase initiated by the prime minister in the country,” he said.
Reacting to the letter of the PDP president seeking the prime minister’s intervention to save the future of some Kashmiri students who were arrested for allegedly celebrating Pakistan’s victory over India in a cricket match, Mr Rana said no anti-national activities will be tolerated.
“Anti-national activities cannot be tolerated by any country and so why India should tolerate such an act? If you are Indian, you have to respect and honour the country,” he said, adding that “India is a strong democracy but that does not mean we will tolerate anti-national activities”.
He said nobody should support anti-national elements.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)