Promising Good Relations With Pakistan, BJP Changes from Saffron to Green in Kashmir
While BJP’s national stand is to give a befitting reply to Pakistan's misadventure, its Anantnag Lok Sabha candidate says, we want good relations with Pakistan.
Srinagar: Khalid Jehangir, the BJP candidate for Srinagar Lok Sabha polls, on Monday used green colour in newspaper advertisements to remind Valley residents that the hue is often used to woo voters.
Jehangir, however, said the use of the colour was not intentional. “I am a saffron man. It hardly matters which colour I use in advertisements,” he told News18, adding, “I don’t see colours through the prism of politics.”
This, however, is not the only contrasting campaign activity the BJP is carrying out in Kashmir.
Last week, when BJP’s south Kashmir candidate, Sofi Yousuf, started campaigning, his first stay was at a shrine in Khiram Anantnag, which purportedly houses a relic of Prophet Muhammed. Yousuf met the saints there and asked them to make special prayers to Allah so that he wins the elections.
“This shrine is sacred to me. While I was MLC last time, it was my priority to make it better. I believe Allah will be pleased with me for paying visit here,” he told News18.
This was not the only shrine he held special prayers at. He then visited another shrine in Ashmuqam, climbing over two hundred stairs to reach the shrine tucked in a mountain. Then he visited another shrine and culminated his visit by visiting a temple and a gurdwara.
Even when Sofi addressed his workers, the meeting was started by reciting verses from the Quran. “It happens in almost every rally of BJP. We start our proceedings with the recitations from the holy Quran,” said a BJP worker.
But beyond this, the party is also having a different stand on the larger issues like relations with Pakistan, the militancy; how stone pelters should be dealt?
While BJP’s national stand is to give a befitting reply to Pakistan’s misadventure, its Anantnag Lok Sabha candidate says, we want good relations with Pakistan.
“Our agenda is to have cordial relations with Pakistan and if we come into the power talks and dialogue between two countries will start,” Sofi Yousuf told News18. He made references to the Prime Minister's surprise visit to Pakistan and the opening of Kartarpur corridor, saying this is all part of our peace building measures.
While BJP’s national stand on militancy remains rigid, its leaders saying that all the militants will be killed, the Kashmir leadership believes otherwise.
“All the youth, who have been killed, as militants or during stone pelting are our children,” said Yousuf. “If I am elected to the power I will work for those people who have been killed in Kashmir, including militants and stone pelters.”
We have to, he said, heal the wounds.
Part of the last BJP-PDP government, Sofi said his party was against the force used on the protesters post-Burhan Wani killing.
“We asked Mehbooba Mufti to tell forces to show restraint while dealing with stone pelting incidents but she directed them to use pellets and brute force,” said Yousuf.
The BJP candidate even alleged that it was Mehbooba Mufti who was after forces to get Burhan Wani killed. Sofi says that in Kashmir his only priority will be to work for Kashmiries.
“First I am a Kashmiri and a Muslim, other things are after that,” said Yousuf, who is one of the founding members of BJP in the Valley and has survived many attacks.
Yousuf became first Kashmiri Muslim to become BJP legislator, in 2014.
He is of the belief that if BJP comes into the power once again the relation between India and Pakistan will improve, and this remains one of his poll promises.
In the Valley, BJP is considered a party with a Hindutva agenda, but in the elections, its candidates look most secular.
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