A couple of days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the Kashmir situation with senior ministers, and amid a controversial comment by state BJP minister Chander Prakash Ganga on stone-pelters in the Valley, the party’s national general secretary Ram Madhav made an impromptu visit to Jammu on Friday.
He discussed the situation in closed-door meetings with governor NN Vohra, finance minister Haseeb Drabu of the PDP ,and director general of police SP Vaid.
Even as state BJP president Sat Sharma maintained that Madhav visited the winter capital in view of a forthcoming visit of party president Amit Shah on April 29 and 30, a senior BJP leader told HT, “The PDP-BJP government is facing a real tough phase in turbulent Kashmir, and Ganga’s video clip has added fuel to the fire. Therefore, Drabu and Madhav discussed the situation in Kashmir at a meeting which lasted an hour and a half this morning.”
After Drabu, he met DGP Vaid while deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh also had a brief meeting in the morning. BJP leaders Avinash Rai Khanna and Satpal Sharma were also among those who attended the meeting.
Stone-pelting incidents have increased manifold in the region since the PDP-BJP alliance came to power in 2015. Most recently, eight people were killed in clashes with security forces during the Srinagar parliamentary bypoll on April 9, prompting the Election Commission to postpone the Anantnag bypoll to May 25.
Earlier in the day, Khanna, who is BJP’s J&K in-charge, said, “He (Madhav) has come and Kashmir situation is being discussed. A programme is also being finalised for the two-day visit of party president (Shah).”
A Raj Bhawan spokesperson said, “BJP national general secretary (Ram Madhav) discussed security environment related issues with the governor and the initiatives under consideration for hastening the developmental process and promoting peace and normalcy.”
Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat had also met Vohra and chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday afternoon, and the very next day briefed National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval in Delhi.
Cabinet rejig ahead
Sources said Madhav, who met senior office-bearers of the party too, also discussed an upcoming reshuffle of portfolios in the BJP, cross-voting by Zanskar MLA Syed Baqir Rizvi in the legislative council elections, and the Anantnag LS bypoll rescheduled for May 25.
As per the coalition agreement, the BJP and PDP had to share two seats each in the council polls, but PDP rebel independent candidate Rizvi from Zanskar voted in favour of BJP candidate Vikram Randhawa, which equalled his votes with the PDP candidate; and Randhawa subsequently won via lottery.
It is learnt that BJP’s “betrayal” at the legislative council elections was also taken up by the finance minister, who expressed CM Mehbooba Mufti’s annoyance to the BJP leader.
”The BJP did not obey the ‘coalition dharma’, and the PDP now wants to get the seat of the assembly speaker in the reshuffle,” sources in the PDP said.
One of the elected PDP MLCs, Yasri Reshi, had not attended the oath ceremony of the MLCs here on Thursday.