BJP, on Tuesday, said that the party is not against abandoning the century-old practice of shifting Civil Secretariat bi-annually, but wanted that those offices which can work at both the capitals of the state should run as per the requirement.
“Some offices should work in both the capitals as per requirement of the people,” BJP state president Sat Sharma said. He said that BJP will run the governance as per the ‘policy matter’ of the state.
Sharma’s stand was contrary to party spokesman Virendra Gupta’s statement who said that the state offices should be ‘bifurcated’. “The practice of ‘Darbar move’ should be abandoned. There should be bifurcation of the state offices.”
Meanwhile, the BJP speaker in the Assembly, Kavinder Gupta, endorsed the party spokesman’s stand saying, “Such a practice costs the state exchequer heavily”.
However, BJP state president said, “It was Virendra Gupta’s personal opinion.”
Gupta’s statement comes two days after the Secretariat reopened in Srinagar after functioning for six months in Jammu.
Opposition Congress said that the statement of the BJP spokesman is a “wishful thinking and a publicity stunt”.
Congress spokesperson and senior leader from Jammu, Ravinder Sharma said that if BJP was serious about bifurcating the offices, then the party should come up with a proposal as it is in the ruling coalition.
Ravinder Sharma said, “Congress party is for meeting the aspirations of the people of all regions of the state. What BJP has said about bifurcating offices and abandoning Darbar move is wishful thinking and publicity stunt which the party has been doing from 2014.”
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) spokesman Mehboob Beg said that “no such matter has been discussed” in the party. “PDP has a governance alliance with BJP. Whatever BJP says as a party, is their own politics,” Beg said. Beg, however said that such statements would have political consequences in the state.
In 2012, then chief minister Omar Abdullah had questioned the wisdom of continuing with the 140-year-old tradition of shifting capitals in the state, saying “It is wastage of money and an escapist move.”
Omar had tweeted, “Do I think the ‘Durbar move’ (shifting of capital) is a waste of money? Yes, I do. Is there an alternative? I haven’t seen any viable alternative being suggested. We run away when people need us the most and they are the ones who face the difficulty. The Darbar move is escapist.”
The Darbar move is a Dogra-era practice of shifting offices bi-annually to Srinagar and Jammu in which thousands of employees and files are ferried in buses and trucks on the 300-km long treacherous Srinagar-Jammu highway, at a whopping Rs 40 crore state expenditure.