BJP releases 'vision document', chooses not to annoy separatists

  • Tarun Upadhyay, Hindustan Times, Jammu Jammu
  • Updated: Nov 27, 2014 22:50 IST

The Bharatiya Janata Party's 'vision document' related to Jammu and Kashmir has skirted many contentious issues, particularly the fight against separatism in the Valley.

The document titled 'Hamare Sapanon ka Jammu and Kashmir' (The Jammu and Kashmir we dream of) released on Thursday also has neither mentioned anything about abrogation of Article 370 nor the political empowerment of the Hindu-majority Jammu region.

These issues were the main pegs of the saffron party's approach towards the state till now.

State BJP president and MP, Jugal Kishor Sharma, said the vision document was not a manifesto and that it only details immediate steps required to be taken in the state. He added that the party's election manifesto will be released shortly.

However, sources have told Hindustan Times that the BJP has decided not to release its 35-page manifesto before the elections in the Kashmir Valley are over. They said the manifesto will be released after December 14, nearly a week before 20 constituencies in Jammu region go for polls.

Sixteen out of the 20 assembly segments which will go to polls in the fifth phase of elections in Jammu region are Hindu-majority areas and the BJP is banking heavily on these to accomplish its 'Mission 44+'.

The Article 370 -- which guarantees special constitutional status to the state -- has strong takers in the Kashmir region where the party has invested heavily this time. In the Valley, the BJP also has a tactical understanding with the separatist-turned-mainstream leader, Sajad Lone.

Even the Prime Minister, who had in the past raked up the issue of abrogation of the Article 370, did not talk a word about it as he addressed people in Kishtwar district on November 22.

The first para of the saffron party's 'vision document' acknowledges the need to rehabilitate flood victims and has also mentioned the problems of house boat owners, both issues specific to Kashmir Valley.

The return of the Kashmiri Pandits, however, finds mention towards the end. The issue of settlement of refugees from West Pakistan, another contentious issue in the state, is mentioned in the second-last para.

The vision document also promises to implement a "saffron revolution" for production and marketing of saffron.

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