The BJP has purchased land in three districts of Jammu to implement its long drawn plan of setting up hi-tech party offices across the region, which was earlier shelved due to strains in the coalition government with PDP. Jammu and Kashmir BJP’s general secretary (organising) Ashok Koul confirmed to The Sunday Guardian that the party has bought land in Kathua, Udhampur and Reasi. Sources added that more lands deals are being finalised in other Jammu districts as well to build new offices, as the BJP is keen to accommodate representatives from the several lakh new recruits who joined it during its last year’s membership drive.
“Yes, it is true that we have bought land in Jammu as we had been wanting to set up new, fully equipped party offices for a long time. We conducted a mega membership drive last year and the response was very good. We got seven lakh new members, of which four lakh were from Jammu itself. We do need more offices to expand our base and organise regular events at the district level to connect with the people,” Koul told this correspondent over phone from Jammu.
A source in the J&K BJP, who is aware of the development, said that around two to four kanals of land have been purchased in three districts in Jammu, where the BJP reversed the Congress’ fortunes in the 2014 Assembly elections, winning 25 of 37 seats. The source added that more land is likely to be purchased in Samba, Poonch, Ramban and Doda, where the BJP dominates. The BJP candidates were successful in Samba, Ramban and Doda, while Poonch was won by ally People’s Democratic Party in the last elections.
“There is a tide for us, and there is a historic opportunity for us. The BJP is in power at the Centre, and we are part of the ruling coalition in state. There is no doubt Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the reason for the good show in Jammu. But the top party leadership in New Delhi now wants the state unit to work very hard and keep up the momentum. This is why we are planning many new offices throughout Jammu,” the source added.
Shedding light on the kind of offices they are looking at, he said, “The offices will be totally high-tech, and there will be a focus on social media and virtual campaigns while also carrying out regular mass-contact programmes through these offices. We have got enormous new members but we also want them to stick to us in the long run. So we will be engaging with them, giving them party work and position, for which we need to have adequate number of offices. It had been planned for a long time,” he added.
DarakhshanAndrabi, a BJP leader and vice president of the party’s state unit, said plans are also on the anvil to open a chain of offices in the valley. “We got three lakh members from the Kashmir valley itself. And all of them are Kashmiri Muslims. While the press continues to show us as rank outsiders in the valley, the figures give you a different picture. We will be opening offices in every district in the Kashmir valley, but it is in the planning stage as of now. But we will be doing it on a good scale,” Andrabi told this newspaper.
She said that the BJP is also serious about rehabilitating the Kashmiri Pandits and things are progressing. When asked about the resistance to separate townships to KPs, she said that it is more from the separatists rather than the people. “Separatists want limelight to remain in relevance, and hence they keep giving comments. The government will do what it has planned, there is no resistance from the common people towards KP’s rehabilitation,” she said.