Bijbehara: The saying, “politics makes strange bedfellows,” has proven true in Bijbehara town of Anantnag district where arch rivals Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress have joined hands to form the local municipal committee.
The oath-taking ceremony for the 5 committee members –two from the BJP, two from Congress, and one Independent – was held on Thursday at the Municipal Committee chambers here in Bijbehara.
Congress candidate Shaheena Nadaf was chosen as president of the committee with the support of BJP candidate Sarojini, while as BJP candidate Avtar Krishan Raina was made vice-president with the support of Shaheena Nadaf.
Both Shaheena and Raina talked to Kashmir Reader and acknowledged that they have won the posts with each other’s support.
In the recently concluded Urban Local Body polls, Bijbehara Municipal Committee received 5 nominations and all five candidates were elected uncontested.
The rest of the 12 wards remain vacant in the committee.
The BJP candidates, Raina and Sarojini, are migrant Kashmiri Pandits from the town while Shaheena Nadaf and her husband, Muhammad Abdullah Nadaf, are locals.
Asked about their unexpected support for each other, Shaheena said that the same had been done in Jammu as well.
“It is because of the situation here. If we would not have supported each other, the committee could not have been formed,” Shaheena said.
She said that a message can be sent on the global level that the situation is normal in Kashmir, now that the committee has been formed.
Raina on the other hand said that the two parties have buried their differences for the sake of development.
“If the committee would not have been formed, the funds would have lapsed. We did not want that to happen. We have set aside our political differences for development of this historic town,” Raina said.
The people of the town expressed no surprise at the alliance.
“We know these elections were a farce and we know that these two parties acting like enemies are also a farce. So, no surprises here,” a resident of the town said, requesting not to be named.
Another resident that Kashmir Reader talked to said the municipal elections and the municipal committee were nothing more than a laughing stock for the locals.