JAMMU, June 7: The BJP on Monday completes 100 days in office. The BJP became part of the establishment for the first time in 67 years on March 1 after signing an agenda of alliance with the PDP. Before and immediately after becoming part of the government in J&K, many top BJP leaders reassured the people of Jammu province that the participation of the BJP in the state’s power structure would mean an end to the discriminatory policies against them. They also reassured them that Jammu province will now have an equal says in the governance of the state and that New Delhi will not discriminate between the regions. The BJP would hand down a system of governance that would harmonize inter-regional relations and give Jammu what it legitimately deserved as part and parcel of the state polity, they had assured and reassured.
Has the BJP kept its promise? Has the BJP delivered on any front as far as its assurances with regard to Jammu people were concerned? Are the people of Jammu province happy with the BJP? Has the BJP succeeded in harmonizing inter-regional relations between Jammu province and Kashmir Valley?
The BJP had promised an equal representation to Jammu province in the government, but what it did was just the opposite. The BJP gave less than 30 per cent representation to Jammu in the all-powerful cabinet. This happened for the first time in the state post-1947. Besides, it gave to Jammu only half a dozen departments, which were in a very bad shape. These included transport, power development department, Public health engineering, health, sick industry and forest. The BJP handed over all the important departments to Kashmir. The BJP, to be more precise, kept Jammu province out of the government in lieu of five berths in the 17-member cabinet. No wonder the badly let down people of Jammu province are cursing the BJP and themselves, saying why did they vote for a party which turned out to be more anti-Jammu than any other party. “The BJP has betrayed us and the nation,” they have been saying. They have also been using all kinds of invectives and epithets against the BJP and terming it not only “anti-Jammu” but also “separatist-friendly”.
The BJP had promised in its vision document that the Dogra youth will be given Dogra certificates so that they could avail certain relaxations and join central paramilitary forces, but the government told the assembly during the budget session that Dogra certificates could not be issued. The rejection of the Dogra certificate demand came following the opposition in Kashmir from separatists and “mainstream” Kashmiri leaders. They had opposed the demand saying the issuance of Dogra certificates will undermine the special status of the state and change its demography and weaken the anti-India movement in the Valley. No wonder the Dogra youth and political parties like the Panthers Party are chaffing and seething with anger.
The BJP had held out a promise through its vision document that the BJP, if voted to power, shall grant citizenship rights to the refugees from West Pakistan. But the state government told the assembly that citizenship rights could not be granted to them under the state rules. BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister endorsed this view of the government and said that the maximum that the government could do could only think in terms of their sustenance and livelihood. The government, in fact, declared that these refugees were no more than baggers. The decision came following the opposition from separatist and mainstream Kashmir leaders and the arguments were similar to the ones they advanced against the move to issue Dogra certificates. No wonder the refugees from West Pakistan are denouncing the BJP on a daily basis and accusing it of betraying them
One BJP minister started the practice of issuing permanent resident certificates in schools to school children. He issued about 50-odd such certificates, but the revenue department under pressure from separatists and mainstream Kashmiri leaders discontinued the practice within a few days. Separatists like Geelani hailed the decision as a victory of “Kashmiri nation”. No wonder then that the decision angered almost all in Jammu province, particularly those poor who could not purchase permanent resident certificates. The decision also embarrassed the BJP minister.
The BJP had in its vision document promised delimitation of assembly constituencies and reservation of a few seats in the assembly and council for displaced persons from PoJK, Kashmiri Pandit refugees and womenfolk, but it didn’t take up any of these three issues. In fact, it abandoned all the three issues even before becoming part of the government. No wonder then that all these social groups have been terming the BJP as a party of bluffers and liars.
The Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had on February 28 announced AIIMS for Jammu, but within 24 hours the BJP handed over the AIIMS to Kashmir. Not just this, the BJP Deputy Chief Minister declared on April 24 that no power on earth could “snatch AIIMS from Kashmir and it will not be established in Jammu”. And he made this anti-Jammu statement overlooking the fact that Kashmir already had an AIIMS-like institute, besides two more well-equipped and ultra modern medical colleges and hospitals, and Jammu didn’t have a single well-equipped and modern medical college and hospital. No wonder then that the people of Jammu province have been on roads since April 24. they have already organized two massive bandhs on April 24 and May 27 and one very impressive and largely participated in candle light march on June 5 and there is the possibility of the people of Jammu province observing an indefinite bandh in case their demand for the establishment of AIIMS in Jammu was not conceded forthwith. It was for the first time that Jammu got something without launching an agitation, but it was snatched from it and given to Kashmir, thus causing an affront to their self-respect
Jammu province under the BJP rule would also have been deprived of the Tawi artificial lake, had the people of Jammu not come on the roads on May 27 to register their protest against those who declared that the ongoing lake project could be abandoned as it was technically and economically not viable. It was the massive bandh in May 27 that forced the authorities to resume work on the project over Tawi (Suryaputri)
Source: WHN Media Network