Lok Sabha polls: Will BJP skip fielding candidates in Kashmir?

Amit Shah said the BJP was not in a hurry to see the 'lotus' bloom in the valley

amit-shah-jammu-pti Union Home Minister Amit Shah addresses a public meeting, ahead of Lok Sabha elections, in Jammu | PTI

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday hinted that the BJP may not field candidates on Lok Sabha seats in Kashmir, saying the party was not in a hurry to see the 'lotus' bloom in the valley.

He was addressing an election rally in the Paloura area in the Jammu-Reasi Lok Sabha constituency from where the party candidate, Jugal Kishore, is seeking a third term. Kishore’s main rival is the Congress’s Raman Balla.

He, however, urged people in Kashmir, especially the youth, not to vote for the National Conference, the Congress, and the PDP.

"We are not in a hurry to conquer Kashmir as portrayed by our adversaries,’’ he said. “We aim to win the hearts of every Kashmiri."

Taking a dig at the NC, the PDP, and the Congress, Shah accused them of fostering terrorism and pushing the youngster to arms. He also accused the parties of orchestrating fake encounters.

"During whose tenure did most fake encounters occur? Wasn't it during Dr. Farooq Abdullah's government?" he asked.

He affirmed the assembly elections in J&K would be held on the dates set by the Supreme Court, without delay.

In its verdict on Article 370, the SC had asked the Election Commission of India to hold the assembly polls in J&K by September 2024.

Criticising PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, he said she had claimed that if Article 370 was revoked, nobody would hoist the tricolour. "Today, Article 370 is repealed, yet the tricolour flies high with dignity and honour," he said.

He said Syama Prasad Mookerjee's vision of 'Ek Vidhan, Ek Pradhan, Ek Nishan' (One Constitution, One Leader, One Symbol) has been realised.

"Today, terrorism is on its deathbed, and incidents like stone-pelting, strikes, and street protests are history," he said.

He attributed this change to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's policies. "PM Modi has replaced stones in the hands of youth with laptops," he said.

Shah assured that without cutting the share of Gujjars and Bakerwals, the due reservation would be given to Paharis, as promised on the floor of Parliament.

"We have provided reservations to Gujjars, Bakerwals, Paharis, Valmikis, OBCs, and women," he said.

The home minister expressed the BJP's commitment to develop every border village of Jammu to match the standards of Jammu city. "Jammu is progressing. We introduced E-buses first in Jammu. Today, J&K houses AIIMS, IIMs, and IITs, attracting students from all over the nation," he said. 

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