We want to establish contact at the grassroots level: Sat Sharma
SRINAGAR: The ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) has embarked on an ambitious plan to set up party offices in three districts neighbouring Srinagar to firm up its foothold in the Muslim-majority region of the state.
BJP state president and legislator Sat Pal Sharma told Kashmir Reader the party has decided to set up offices in Ganderbal, Budgam and Anantnag in coming months.
“Our focus (on establishing party offices) is Srinagar and three districts around it. We have decided to set up offices so that the party leadership is able to connect with the grassroots level workers,” Sharma said.
He said the party feels need for establishing offices at every district headquarters “but initially we will limit these exercises to these three places only.”
The BJP set-up its office in Srinagar in 2015 soon after the election results were announced. The elections threw a hung verdict, with BJP sweeping Jammu region and forming an alliance with the PDP.
The party has already accommodated several BJP leaders from Kashmir including Sofi Yousuf and Surinder Ambardar and nominated them to the upper house of the state legislature. Observers say that this was an attempt to connect more people with the ruling party.
The BJP president said that in the remaining districts, the party would try to consolidate the people who have registered themselves recently. A few months ago, he added, the party had registered 3.5 lakh people who would now be used to work for the party.
He said the move was planned after BJP successfully set up offices in Jammu region.
A party insider told Kashmir Reader that a considerable number of Kashmiri Muslims have joined the party after the government was formed in 2015.
“Trust me the number is beyond our expectations and we don’t know whether they join us out of their will or they have motives as we are a ruling party,” he said, adding the party has decided to work with the workers to make “Modiji’s programs successful”.
“The offices are must for that,” Sharma said.
Observers say that BJP’s forays into the Valley were not new in the post-Partition history of India but it is for the first time that the party is attempting to make inroads in Kashmir in a consolidated fashion.
The ruling PDP and its founder late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed have been blamed for paving way for the BJP to establish its base in the Valley.
The opposition National Conference accused the PDP for fighting election on the plank of keeping BJP at bay but eventually reneged on its poll mandate to forge an alliance with the party.