Kashmir's senior separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani on Friday claimed that the BJP, constantly denouncing separatists and their politics publicly, sent emissaries of prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in March this year to seek his "commitment on the Kashmir issue".
"Modi sent his people to various (separatist) leaders. Two people came to meet me on March 22 and asked me to talk to him to get his commitment on the Kashmir issue," claimed Hurriyat chairman Geelani adding, "I rejected their proposal telling them that Modi is an RSS man and we know his party's policy on Kashmir."
Despite repeated attempts, BJP spokesperson Hari Om was not available for comments.
Geelani's disclosure will definitely raise a few eyebrows as the BJP has been maintaining a policy of distance from separatists. During her visit to Kashmir with the all-party delegation in 2010, BJP leader Sushma Swaraj had refused to meet separatist leaders.
Without naming moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and the Jamaat-e-Islami chief Muhammad Abdullah Wani, Geelani said, "Those who said Modi's policy would be soft as prime minister have actually met his emissaries."
Both Farooq and Wani in separate statements have expressed hope that Modi can make headway on the Kashmir problem.
"If Modi is elected and pursues the outlook of Vajpayee regarding the Kashmir issue and initiates a dialogue with Pakistan and the leadership of Kashmir, then things can move forward," Mirwaiz had said.
Geelani (84), who returned from Delhi on Thursday, issued a protest calendar against the upcoming polls, which include late evening protests on the eve of polls and day-long 'civil curfew' on polling day in the upcoming three phases, where the valley's Anantnag, Srinagar and Baramulla will go for polls on April 24, 30 and May 7 respectively.
Reiterating his stand of a complete poll boycott, the ageing leader asked people to stay away from ballot boxes. "India exploits the voting in its favour by claiming that people of Kashmir are with her," he said.
Claiming that separatist supporters are being rounded up and "security agencies are coercing people to vote", Geelani said, "Boycotting elections is too a right."
Geelani has called for a shutdown on April 21 against "clampdown of security agencies on separatist leaders and supporters".
"In the presence of seven lakh army men no genuine election can be held," he added.