Former Jammu and Kashmir MLC Shahnaz Ganie joined the BJP in Delhi on Monday in the presence of Union minister Jitendra Singh and party general secretary Tarun Chugh.
“Alhamdulillah (thank God), we will work to empower people from different sections of society. I believe it’s very encouraging to be part of the BJP,” Ganie told THE WEEK.
Ganie was an important leader of the National Conference in Poonch for several years before she quit the party in 2019. She hails from Poonch district and commands influence among the local population, especially the Paharis.
Ganie’s decision to join the BJP comes days after Parliament passed the Scheduled Tribe (ST) bill for the Pahari community in Jammu and Kashmir. The bill will benefit the Paharis politically and in seeking jobs and admission in educational institutions.
Ganie thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for bringing the bill for ST status to Paharis and called the decision “visionary”.
“I am highly grateful to our honourable PM Modi,’’ she had said. “This move reflects the visionary leadership of PM Modi."
Ganie had further termed the passage of the bill a watershed moment and a historical day for the people of J&K.
“Passing this bill through a voice vote has given a befitting reply to political parties who were trying to politicise this issue for vested interests,’’ she said.
Ganie, known for her outspokenness in Jammu and Kashmir's political landscape, emphasised her commitment to working for the empowerment of various sections of society.
She contested unsuccessfully in the last District Development Council (DDC) election in Kashmir, held in October 2020.
Her joining the BJP will brighten the prospects of the party in Poonch in the assembly and Lok Sabha polls.
Several middle-rung leaders from different parties in Jammu and Kashmir have joined the BJP recently. More such leaders are camping in Delhi and are likely to join the saffron party.