‘Let the nomads return to plains’, BJP batting for J&K assembly polls in November

The BJP’s Jammu and Kashmir unit on Tuesday said assembly elections should be held in November after over 30 lakh nomads return from the state’s high-altitude areas to the plains.

“We want that elections should be held in Jammu and Kashmir in November this year. It should be held after the return of Gujjars and Bakerwals back to the plains from the upper reaches of the state. It is the period of November,” state BJP general secretary Ashok Koul told reporters in Jammu.

He said the party does not favour immediate elections in the state.

“Though, the party is not in favour of any delays in the polls, but at the same time, it doesn’t want that a huge population of nomads are deprived of their right to vote,” Mr Koul said.

He said had assembly elections been held along with the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP would have favoured it. “We don’t favour immediate polls at this time,” the BJP leader said.

Mr Koul said over 30 lakh Gujjars and Bakerwals are in the migration phase these days.

“We can’t deprive them of their rights. So, once they return from grazing their livestock on hills, assembly polls can be held,” he said.

Union minister Jitendra Singh on Monday last had said the BJP is ready for assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir but a final decision on the matter needs to be taken by the Election Commission after considering security-related concerns.

BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav in March had said the party wants early elections in the state.

Replying to questions on the security situation in Kashmir, Mr Koul claimed that only three of the 10 districts of Kashmir are trouble-torn.

“The security situation in rest of the districts has bettered and the Centre is dealing with the situation to bring peace and normalcy in these three trouble-torn districts,” the BJP leader said.

On the withdrawal of his security, the BJP leader said he surrendered his security to protest the “wrong information provided by the police to the governor”.

“Some police officials had given wrong information to the governor about the security of slain BJP member Gul Mir of Anantnag.

“I wrote to the governor to clarify to him about the security of late Mir.The governor has assured that security will be provided to all those political activists after proper verification by the police,” Mr Koul said.

On opposition parties accusing the BJP of polarising voters and threatening minorities, he said the Congress is “polarising voters in the country and it did it recently in Jammu and Kashmir parliamentary polls”.

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