BJP has put in its entire top state unit leadership for the relief work in the flood affected areas across the state, more so in Jammu region-its core support region- where 196 of the total 285 people have died and 29 are still missing.
The party didn’t carry any political activity in the entire September. Its central leadership had issued strict directions to concentrate only on relief work with a ‘mission’. But it does sense a political gains as there is strong anger against the State government – read National Conference and Congress, the coalition parners.
The public posturing of the party is to deny any political motive to its work. Though, its state leadership doesn’t deny so it totally in private conversation.
“We are political party. To say that we are not sensing political gains will sound political naïve. But that also doesn’t mean we doing just for political aims. That would be gross exaggeration of our intent and work,” said a senior BJP leader, wishing not to be quoted.
Just after visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to assess flood situation, a meeting of central and state leadership was held in New Delhi. It was attended by MP JP Nadda, Ram Lal, state election in-charge Dr Nirmal Singh MP Jugal Kishore and others. It was decided to have maximum relief and coordination with the neigbouring states.
“There is no political motive for our relief. We are trained for social work and the party is doing so when the state is passing through its biggest natural calamity. And it’s for this reason we have cancelled all political engagements,” said Dr Nirmal Singh, state election in-charge.
Three-committee were formed to visit each flood affected districts and also distribute relief materials . The party had won both the parliamentary seats from the Jammu region.
Its leadership was probably the first one to be amidst flood affected people. Being an opposition party in the State it had an advantage. Unlike in Kashmir, where anger against political class was ‘over-the-top’, it was not quite so vocal in Jammu, giving it a leverage to pitch in its political undertones.
It has till now collected about Rs 30 lakhs from public. About Rs 15 lakh has been spent out of it as carriage charges and on other things. Though it hasn’t given any cash assistance.
The party had an added advantage. Local MP Dr Jatinder Singh is minister-of-state(junior minister) in the Prime Minister Office, which was overseeing all operation.
The party and especially state leadership sensed that Central financial assistance will carry political connotations. It had a meeting with the officials of the home ministry- home secretary Anil Goswami is also from Jammu city and is personally known to state leadership- asking for a role in ‘equitable’ and ‘transparent’ distribution of funds. Though it wasn’t entertained, it was given a role of watch-dog on fund distribution.
The BJP team also toured Kashmir, which has accounted maximum financial loss and is looking to financial assistance from the Centre.
The party had won 11 seats in the 2008 election, its highest ever, and had missed four others by a margin of about 2,000 votes. Now it’s aiming for 44 plus-halfway mark in the State Assembly of 87 Members-. Jammu region has 37 seats. In the parliamentary elections it had got the maximum and highest votes.