‘BJP not to occupy Kashmir but win hearts’: Amit Shah’s game-changing statement

Amit Shah must have sensed this sense of desperation and suppressed anger among youth in the Valley.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah made a big statement on Jammu and Kashmir, dispelling all the ill-conceived impressions about BJP and its agenda in the erstwhile state, which is now a Union Territory; claiming that the party is patient enough to wait for the Lotus to bloom in the Valley, adding that it has no intention to “occupy the Valley as our real objective is to win hearts.”

Amit Shah’s statement at an election rally in Jammu, the region where BJP is contesting polls on two seats of Jammu-Reasi, and Udhampur-Doda, is historic in nature.  The direct call to the youth of the Valley that “BJP is not to occupy the Valley, but engaged in winning hearts,” has two aspects. First, the BJP is perturbed over the propaganda that Kashmiri youth are absorbing that the saffron party is in all-out mode to impose its ideology, culture and traditions on the Valley.” These theories are emanating from Pakistan and the separatist enlaces in the Valley, through social media and their own broadcast system.

This is clear from the voices that have emerged from various quarters of youth, saying that they were not interested in the electoral exercise. Some of the youth have openly stated that their issues are not being addressed, hence they would not vote. This narrative is due to the various bungling in recruitment to government jobs. The Government had to withdraw various select lists because of huge scams.

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Kashmiri youth is also miffed as there have been random arrests, on the suspicion of their being associated with militancy and separatism. They are also denied jobs, passports, and other necessary documents because they belong to families that were involved in militancy. There is a growing question, why sons are being punished for something that their father did or some close or relative was involved? The psychology of siege is being further fueled by political groups. They are asking, why Kashmiri youth suffers this humiliation and denial of rights as equal citizens of India.

Amit Shah must have sensed this sense of desperation and suppressed anger among youth in the Valley. It was in this context that he wanted youth in Kashmir to dispel the notion that the BJP is a party that is doing all this, creating a siege like situation. He not only asked the youth to give up the feeling that the saffron party was having any such plans.

He also said, “BJP is full of patience and it will wait till the time Valley is ready to accept and contribute to the bloom of Lotus, the party symbol. “

This underlined that the BJP doesn’t want to force the party symbol of Lotus in the Lok Sabha polls-2024 in the election campaign. The youth of Kashmir have been told that the BJP is not keen to win the electoral battles immediately but will wait for the right time to jump into the electoral battleground in Kashmir where three Lok Sabha seats are at stake.

National Conference, PDP and Apni Party, People’s Conference have fielded their candidates. NC and PDP are contesting all three seats as rivals in the Anantnag-Rajouri, Srinagar, and Baramulla constituencies. Apni Party, founded four years ago by Altaf Bukhari, has fielded candidates on two seats- Srinagar and Anantnag, while the People’s Conference is contesting the Baramulla seat. Ghulam Nabi Azad too has thrown his hat in the ring for the Anantnag seat but there is a lot of suspense about whether he will cast himself as a candidate as the odds are against him.

Apni Party is considered a new political force that has changed the course of Kashmir’s political narrative. It talks of all hopes getting fulfilled by Delhi. Altaf Bukhari has time and again reiterated that Delhi alone can swab the wounds it inflicted on Kashmir.

When Amit Shah said that Kashmiris can vote for anyone, but should reject all three dynastic families and their politics – National Conference, PDP, and Congress- he was hinting at voting for other parties that swear to the idea of India and its constitution in Jammu and Kashmir.

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