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All Parties Tarred with the Same (BJP) Brush

March 31, 2024

Muhammad Mukaram

Srinagar:  In politics, there are no permanent friends or enemies; only permanent interests.

On Jammu and Kashmir’s political landscape, all political parties have a history of stitching alliances for power politics. There are no saints. Every ‘saint’ has a past!

Post 5 August 2018, after abrogation of Articles 370 and 35-A, many regional political groups have emerged in Jammu and Kashmir at a galloping pace.

Accusations have also been mounting left, right and centre, ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. There is an accusation on new groups that they are “BJP’s B-team”.

But, we ask, which political party in J&K is not the BJP’s B-team?

Let’s first look at the politics of J&K National Conference (JKNC): From 23 July 2001 to 23 December 2002, Omar Abdullah was the Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in New Delhi. The JKNC has experience of working with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The party knows very well what it means to forge alliances with the BJP.

Now, the J&K People’s Democratic Party (JKPDP): When late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed stitched an alliance with the BJP in 2015, he termed the partnership as “paradigm shift” in J&K politics. After his demise in January 2016, his daughter Mehbooba Mufti also forged another partnership with the BJP and worked closely with the saffron party in a coalition government till June 2018.

After the events of 5 August 2018, when Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into two Union Territories, the PDP dissenter Altaf Bukhari launched his new political party, naming it J&K Apni Party (JKAP). Soon, several leaders affiliated with the PDP and other parties left joined the JKAP. The Apni Party’s top leadership met PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi soon after.

When Narendra Modi bid an emotinal farewell to then senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, saying, “my doors are always open for you”, Azad parted ways with the Congress to launch a new political outfit, the Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP).

The story of the J&K People’s Conference (JKPC) headed by Sajad Lone is no different. It was a part of the PDP-BJP coalition government. Lone as a cabinet Minister would shower praise on Modi. He made headlines when he said, “Modi was so large hearted that it was tough to say whether I was meeting PM of India or my elder brother.”

In J&K, all regional political parties are seeking votes from the people on the plank of keeping the BJP out from J&K politics but behind the scenes and overtly, they have also worked with the BJP very closely!

So, we ask, which party is not the BJP’s B-team?

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