All efforts are being made to hold elections in Jammu and Kashmir, after the delimitation process gets over, according to BJP general secretary Tarun Chugh and in-charge of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and Telangana.
Here are some excerpts of the interview:
Q. The BJP is going to contest elections in Punjab for the first time without the support of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)? How will the BJP be able to fight against Congress, SAD and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)?
A. Yes, this time the BJP will contest forthcoming Assembly elections in Punjab on its own. We have been contesting elections continuously since 1952. We fought earlier under the banner of Jana Sangh and from 1980 with the poll symbol of the BJP and in 1992 also as a party, although the circumstances were different then. This time we are ready to give a tough fight to the Congress, SAD and the AAP, including all opposition parties. We have made preparations right to the booth level of all 117 Assembly seats.
Q. Amarinder Singh is constantly speaking about the possibility of a possible alliance with the BJP, with the latter calling him a nationalist leader. When will the BJP make the final decision about an alliance with Amarinder Singh?
A. It is for the BJP high command to decide what kind of alliance the party will have with Amarinder Singh. Punjab is a border state, its peace and security is of utmost importance. The BJP will take a decision at an appropriate time.
Q. On Sunday, a delegation of Punjab BJP leaders met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and demanded the reopening of Kartarpur Sahib Corridor. How big is this issue for Punjab?
A. Kartarpur Sahib Corridor was opened even earlier because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which the Sikhs all over the country have been demanding for the last seven decades. Along with this, the Prime Minister has taken many remarkable steps for Punjab and Sikhs, so the Punjab BJP delegation thanked him and urged him that before celebrating the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev on November 19, the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor must be reopened again so that with full enthusiasm and reverence, the Sikhs can visit the Gurudwara and pay their respects. The 1984 riots accused were penalised only after the Modi government made efforts and Sikhs got justice. We also thanked PM Modi for this.
Q. What is the biggest issue for the BJP in the Punjab Legislative Assembly elections? With what promise will you seek votes from the public?
A. Mafia Raj is the most serious issue in all areas of Punjab. There are drug mafia, sand mafia, transport mafia, etc. The law and order situation in Punjab has completely collapsed. The economy of Punjab is in bad shape. There is no development in agriculture or industry, trade. All these issues will be part of our campaign.
Q. While removing Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir and reorganizing the state, it was promised that Legislative Assembly elections will be held at an appropriate time, what is the preparation for this?
A. The removal of Article 370 has been welcomed by all. Democracy has been strengthened. On the call of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the people of Jammu and Kashmir have voted in lakhs and have shown faith in the policies of the government. Preparations are afoot to hold assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir soon. The matter of delimitation is already being looked into by the Election Commission. After the delimitation work is completed, the central government will take a decision on it soon.
Q. But the same question is being asked again and again that when will the Legislative Assembly elections be held in J&K?
A. Elections will be held soon. As we told you, the central government wants to hold the elections as soon as possible.
Q. What will be the target of the BJP in the assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir? Will you contest elections alone or join other parties as well?
A. It is too early to say anything on this. Let the elections be announced first, then the party will see what to do.
Q. The way terror incidents have increased in recent days, what do you see is the motive behind the targeted killings?
A. This is a conspiracy of Pakistan and ISI to spread terror in the Kashmir Valley and Indian security forces will deal with it effectively. Jammu and Kashmir has moved from terrorism to tourism. People have realized that for so many decades Abdullah, Mufti and Congress have fooled them.
Pakistan will be defeated in its nefarious design. The Modi government is continuously working on the eradication of terrorism and taking the UT to the path of development and ensuring security to all. Terrorists killed 2,081 people during 2004-2014 while 239 civilians were killed during 2014 to 2021, which is again a testimony of peace and security in Jammu and Kashmir.
Q. The opposition parties keep raising the demand for full statehood to Jammu and Kashmir again? As BJP in-charge, what do you have to say on this?
A. All such people should understand that J&K has moved on. A new chapter of development and progress is being written. The decision about restoring the statehood will be taken at the right time.
Q. It has been a common complaint of the people of Ladakh that the pace of their development is very slow. How far have you been able to resolve the grievances of the people there?
A. Ladakh remained neglected for decades due to the policies of Abdullah and Mufti. Ladakh region was never respected, but now new development works are taking place and people of Ladakh are feeling proud of it. The Centre will make Ladakh a developed region where people will find new avenues of development and progress and connectivity. (IANS)