BJP using Kashmir for electoral gains in 2019 Lok Sabha polls: Tarigami

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Jammu, June 25 (PTI): CPI(M) leader and Kulgam MLA Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami on Monday said the BJP wanted to use Kashmir as part of its electoral strategy for the Lok Sabha elections next year. He also termed BJP chief Amit Shah’s recent statements against its former ally, the PDP, as “desperation” of the saffron party.

“BJP wants to use Kashmir as part of its election strategy for the next Lok Sabha elections. BJP chief Amit Shah’s speech in Jammu the other day shows desperation of the saffron party,” Tarigami said. “Till yesterday, the BJP leadership would praise its alliance partner PDP in Jammu and Kashmir. What happened all of a sudden that they (BJP) are now repeating the same allegations which they used against the PDP during the 2014 election campaign?”, he asked.

Shah had during a rally here recently accused the previous PDP-BJP coalition government led by Mehbooba Mufti as “discriminatory” towards the Jammu and Ladakh regions. The BJP had on June 19 pulled out of its alliance with the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir, leading to the resignation of chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and the imposition of Governor’s rule in the state.

Tarigami questioned the BJP leadership on what stopped the party legislators from raising the issue (of discrimination) at appropriate forums when they were in power in the state.

“All the MPs, most of the MLAs and ministers from Jammu and Ladakh were from the BJP. Why did not they settle the issue of the so-called ‘injustice’ with Jammu and Ladakh then? Why is the BJP raising a hue and cry now?,” he asked.

The Kulgam MLA added that “corruption, nepotism and misgovernance” was at its peak during the previous state dispensation. “The sufferings of Kashmiris were compounded in the last three years,” he claimed.

Tarigami said both the PDP and BJP failed to deliver on their poll promises miserably. “Now the BJP is trying to project itself as the ‘messiah’ of the people of Jammu and Ladakh, and accusing the PDP of doing everything for Kashmir which they never did. It is a political gimmick which people of the state fully understand,” he said.

The CPI(M) legislator said the two parties had forged an “alliance of extremes” in 2015 with a promise to bridge the chasm between Muslim-majority Kashmir and predominantly-Hindu Jammu region.

“But the reality is, when the alliance ended, the polarisation in the politically sensitive state is at an all-time high,” he said.

He also asked the saffron party to clear its stand on its senior leader and MLA Choudhary Lal Singh’s threat to Kashmiri journalists.

After the brutal killing of Shujaat Bukhari, the journalists in Kashmir are in shock and mourning, and a BJP leader is threatening them to “draw a line or meet Shujaat’s fate”. The BJP needs to answer whose interests Lal Singh is serving, Tarigami added.

Singh had in a controversial statement last week warned Kashmiri journalists to draw a line between reporting facts and supporting terrorists or face the fate of Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari, who was shot dead by militants.

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