- A majority of saffron party members want October 26 declared as state holiday. Deputy CM says he will persuade PDP for the same
Jammu: Bharatiya Janata Party announced on Saturday that it will celebrate October 26 as the ‘Accession Day’ of Jammu and Kashmir with India.
It is for the first time that India’s current ruling party will be celebrating the controversial accession, even though it has been championing Kashmir’s integration with India in more forceful ways in the past.
A majority of Muslims in the state have been observing October 27, when Indian troops landed here on Maharaja Hari Singh’s invitation, as ‘Black Day’ since 1990 when they rose in revolt against the Indian rule.
The announcement to celebrate the day is likely to embarrass the People’s Democratic Party, which is BJP’s ally in the state government and often claims that one of its main motives behind forming an alliance with the saffron party is to “bridge the gap between Kashmir and Jammu regions”.
BJP legislator from RS Pura Dr Gagan Bhagat told Kashmir Reader that several party leaders met deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh and discussed the proposal to declare October 26 as a state holiday.
“It was decided that the issue will be taken up with the alliance partner (PDP) to build a consensus,” the MLA said, adding some leaders have “reservations with the decision”.
All former state presidents, members of the national executive and party spokespersons have endorsed the demand, while a few senior members have said that raising the demand at this point will strain the relations with PDP.
Asked why the party was celebrating the day for the first time, he said, “BJP has been celebrating the day when it was in opposition. Now that we are partners in a coalition government we will announce it as a state holiday.”
Nirmal said he will try to persuade PDP to declare October 26 as a state holiday.
State BJP general secretary (organisation) reportedly said the day should be celebrated like other festivals. He is learnt to have sought suggestions from party leaders on party’s celebration programmes after having asked them to organise ‘colour programmes’ in their respective areas..
He also reportedly directed the leaders from Jammu city to make arrangements at the statue of Maharaja Hari Singh to organize a programme on the day besides illuminating the prominent rotaries of the city and fixing hoardings, flags etc.
Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP) also announced it will celebrate the day.
Chairman JKNPP Harsh Dev Singh told reporters the party will hoist Indian flag in all district headquarters, which will be followed by a huge car rally carrying the tricolor in the Jammu. He also asked people to celebrate the day by hoisting tricolour flag atop their homes and shops early in the morning to “uphold the national pride and honour”.