With an eye on Jammu and Kashmir assembly polls, the BJP has introduced a new slogan—Kashmir badal raha hai (Kashmir is changing)—to woo people in the valley. It has also commenced a membership drive, which began on July 6 and will end on August 10. The party is aiming to woo three lakh new members to its fold in the Muslim-majority state, ahead of the assmbly elections.
"The response to our membership drive has been very impressive," said BJP state spokesman Altaf Thakur. "In 10 days, 27,000 new members have joined the party in south Kashmir, 22,000 in central Kashmir and 23,000 in north Kashmir," adding that the response to the membership drive was beyond their expectations. "We are hopeful that we will cross the target of three lakh members."
He said people are joining the BJP because it believes in peace, development and corruption-free Kashmir.
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At least 8,000 individuals, including political activists from various parties, have joined the party in Srinagar so far. The party's target is to woo 40,000 new members to its fold in capital Srinagar.
Given the response to the membership drive, Thakur said, the party is hopeful about winning several seats in Kashmir in the impending assembly polls.
In the last assembly elections, the BJP could not win any seat in Kashmir, but went on to win 25 seats in Jammu. In the Lok Sabha elections, the saffron party secured impressive leads in 27 of the 37 assembly segments, especially in the majority Hindu regions of Jammu, three of four segments in Ladakh—including the Muslim dominated Zanskar, and in Kashmir's Tral, which has a sizable Sikh population.
The party claimed that 17 lakh people voted for it in the Lok Sabha elections and is hopeful of emulating that victory in the assembly polls, especially in the Jammu region. It is hoping to at least emerge as the single largest party in the assembly polls and form the next government in the state, with the help of allies in Kashmir.