Putting to rest all speculations, BJP MLA Chaman Lal Gupta’s son Anil Gupta merged his party, Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Front (JKDF), into the BJP formally amidst great fanfare here on Saturday.
It seemed logical progression as Anil’s father, BJP’s Jammu-west MLA Chaman Lal Gupta, returned to the party fold recently. Anil had formed the JKDF after his father was expelled along with six other MLAs by the party for alleged cross-voting in MLC elections.
BJP MP and J&K affairs in-charge Avinash Rai Khanna and state BJP chief and MP Jugal Kishore Sharma welcomed Anil into the party, saying that his inclusion in the party would give an impetus as his “young fan following in Jammu city is quite big”. Sharma added, “Doors are open for any person or party that supports the developmental vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”
Buoyed by the Lok Sabha victory, the BJP is on a ‘Mission 44+’ in the 87-member J&K assembly, and it has been taking a multi-dimensional stance to rope in various segments to swell its vote bank.
A recent tie-up — all but formalised — with former separatist Sajjad Lone’s party in Kashmir and a softening of stance on Article 370 is also being seen in that context.
The Gupta father-son’s re-entry into the BJP would help it gather Mahajan vote in Jammu city that includes three constituencies, Jammu-east, Jammu-west and Gandhinagar, say observers.
Anil said: “Youth attached with the JKDF wants to support the BJP as its vision after Modi’s taking over as PM has broadened, and we are hopeful of seeing better days for the state as a whole and Jammu in particular.”
It may be recalled that on October 8, 2012, three young workers of the JKDF had jumped into the well of the assembly from the press gallery, raising slogans of ‘implement employment policy’. The incident had forced speaker Muhammad Akbar Lone to order inquest proceedings against the trio as also against BJP legislator Jagdish Sapolia (now Congress candidate from Basholi), who had managed entry passes for the trio.