The BJP’s state unit in Jammu and Kashmir is waiting for a response from the state’s Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on their demand for political reservation for the Scheduled Tribes in Jammu. If the CM fails to respond, the state leadership of the BJP will take up the matter with the party’s central leaders, sources said.
A senior minister in the Mehbooba Mufti government, who belongs to the BJP, told this reporter that in a recent Cabinet meeting, the BJP lawmakers asked the CM to withdraw the controversial minutes of a tribal affairs department meeting in which the forest department had been told to keep the tribal affairs ministry in the loop for any evictions on forest land.
“We don’t mind coming out of this coalition if the interests of Jammu region are trampled upon by the PDP. We have been voted to power by Jammu region and we are ready to sacrifice the chair to safeguard their interests,” the minister told this reporter requesting anonymity. He said that in the recent Cabinet meeting, the BJP ministers also red-flagged Cabinet approval for a PDP proposal of giving more incentives to surrendered militants in the Kashmir valley. “We cannot reward terrorists after their surrender. They are anti-nationals and should be dealt with as per the law,” the BJP minister said. In Jammu, the BJP ministers are facing flak from the people for not being able to get the Kathua rape and murder case transferred to the CBI. They are also being criticised for failing to get district status to Nowshera subdivision of Rajouri district. There have been massive protests in Nowshera and Hiranagar for the failure of the BJP ministers to fulfil the expectations of the people of Jammu.
The state tribal affairs ministry recently circulated the minutes of the meeting, putting a halt to retrieve forest land from the tribals, quoting CM Mehbooba Mufti for issuing such orders. The BJP ministers, especially Forest Minister Lal Singh, has asked Mehbooba Mufti to officially withdraw these minutes of the meeting and said that he will continue his drive against the nomad families to evict them from the state forests’ land.