Will BJP succeed to do away Mahraja’s practice of shifting Darbar?


Srinagar: Barely two days after the shifting of Darbar Move offices from Jammu to Srinagar on May 8, BJP — the ally of ruling PDP in Jammu and Kashmir—upped its ante over the demand of not shifting the civil secretariat from Jammu, citing “huge burden on the State exchequer as main reason.”

Even though the PDP tried its best to downplay the demand put forth by its partner, a fresh discord seems to have gripped the ruling dispensation in J&K. A million dollar question arises as to whether the practice of shifting the seat of governance from Srinagar to Jammu started by then Maharaja Hari Singh in 1947.

Official sources said that nevertheless, the practice of shifting government to Jammu for six months—from October to May—results in a huge burden on the State’s kitty, but the practice has never stopped since then.

“Huge truckloads of files, other official stuff are ferried to Jammu every year and for six months, the government remains stationed in Jammu. The ministers, however, make rounds to Srinagar amid assertions that they wanted to address people’s grievances during winter months, but governance, of course remains causality in Kashmir from January to May,” they said.

Winter in Kashmir is always challenging as power supply often gets snapped, road links blocked and last but not the least, shortage of essential supply is always there. This, however, is not the case with Jammu.

Talking to Kashmir Vision, BJP’s State Chief, Sat Sharma said that though there is no formal proposal about not shifting annual darbar move from Jammu to Srinagar, but there are of course some suggestions from BJP.

“We can have some offices that can work simultaneously from Jammu and Srinagar. This can be sorted out amicably,” Sharma said. However, BJP chief Spokesman in Jammu recently asserted that darbar should remain in Jammu only as its shifting involves lot of expenses and that situation wasn’t well in Kashmir.

Interestingly, at a function in Jammu, just two days before, shifting of Darbar move, former minister Gulchain Singh Charak claimed there was no need to shift darbar to Srinagar as situation was not normal there. Some lecturers also made similar assertions in the function. At the same time, former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah took twitter route. He wrote: “The demand surfaced in my tenure also. I agree this is a burden, but so far there is no viable alternative to it.”

Sources said that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti will discuss the issue silently with ally BJP to avoid major controversies. PDP chief spokesman Dr Mehboob Beg said that there is no formal proposal in this regard so far. “Even if BJP has some suggestions, we can discuss them peacefully,” he said.

Sources said that some PDP ministers where of the view that majority of BJP ministers prefer to spend most of the time in their constituencies in Jammu despite the fact that Darbar remains in Srinagar. “Many PDP ministers had complained to Mehbooba last year also about the issue. Not even a single BJP minister was visible in Kashmir on weekends despite Civil Secretariat remaining functional in summer capital. This year, there are similar apprehensions,” sources in the PDP said.

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