BJP rushes Union ministers to J-K on its Mission 44+
With Jammu and Kashmir high on its electoral agenda, the BJP is sending a large contingent of its Union ministers and senior leaders to the state in the run-up to the assembly polls as part of its ambitious Mission 44-plus target.
J-K BJP sources said at least 30-35 Union ministers and senior BJP leaders have been asked to travel across the state in the coming days to communicate the party's development and governance agenda to the people.
As part of the plan, home minister Rajnath Singh is likely to visit J-K on September 5 while his colleagues, including Arun Jaitley (finance and defence) and Najma Heptulla (minority affairs), have already returned from the state.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi too visited Ladakh and Kargil last month while BJP chief Amit Shah addressed a rally in Jammu region.
"There is no doubt that first BJP government will be formed in J-K in coming elections. Since we are confident of a good show in Jammu, our focus is on Kashmir and Ladakh," a state leader said.
To ensure maximum gains from Kashmir where the BJP has never won any seat in any election so far, the party is eyeing a tie-up with separatist-turned-politician Sajjad Lone.
Lone heads the Peoples Conference, which was once a part of the Hurriyat Conference. Lone has influence in some pockets of north Kashmir though he lost the 2009 Lok Sabha elections from Baramulla.
BJP leader Ashok Khajuria recently indicated that his party was ready to work with Lone. "There is no dearth of nationalists in Kashmir and we are in touch with them. Nobody is untouchable," he said. "If some people can't join BJP, but want to fight independently, we'll take them along."