Ahead of BJP president Amit Shah's visit to Jammu, scores of motorbikes bearing BJP flags were seen waiting outside the Jammu airport. The enthused bike-borne men were shouting "Jai Shree Ram" and "Yeh Kashmir Hamara Hai" slogans.
The BJP party state chief Ravinder Raina spearheading the rally, told NewsClick, "Amit Shah is here to commemorate the historic martyrdom anniversary of Jan Sangh founder president Shyama Prasad Mukherjee." According to reports, Shah will release a book called, A Saga of Sacrifices... Praja Parishad movement in Jammu & Kashmir, followed by the rally.
However Praja Parishad agitation was due to Sheikh Abdullah declaring far reaching land reforms in the state, and also abolishing the hereditary rule of the Maharaja. Though it was cloaked under ultra-nationalist rhetoric, the real reason for the Parishad agitation was to protect the Dogra landowners and restore Hari Singh to his gaddi. What was an economic issue was converted into a communal one.
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Political analysts believe that Amit Shah’s visit is significant in a communally polarized Jammu, especially as this would be his first visit after the fall out of the BJP-PDP government. On June 19, BJP had announced that it was pulling out of the alliance with the People's Democratic Party (PDP) in Jammu and Kashmir, calling it “untenable”. “We are happy that BJP pulled out of the alliance. PDP government was helping stone-pelters”, said Ravinder Sharma, flanked by two men holding the BJP flag.
The state of Jammu and Kashmir is currently under the Governor’s rule. Locals from both the regions of Jammu and Kashmir believe that it was a political experiment that has failed – the welding of the BJP from Hindu majority Jammu and the PDP from Muslim majority Kashmir had always been an unlikely alliance.
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Karan Sharma, the state vice president of the Jammu youth wing told NewsClick, "After the collapse of BJP-PDP Government, our poll strategy is to listen to voices across the state which were suppressed by PDP. And also to give a free hand to security forces which the PDP was not letting us do."
The locals also believe that the collapse of the government will give a free-hand to the BJP to transfer the Kathua rape case to CBI. “With the BJP government in the centre and no PDP in sight, we are sure that the case will be transferred to CBI,” said Devender, hailing from Rajouri district of Jammu.
(With inputs from Sagrika Kissu in Jammu and the Newsclick desk)