Union Home Minister Amit Shah will be visiting Jammu and Kashmir later this month. While Mr Shah is expected to tour some of the border areas and review development work, his visit gains political significance with the Union Territory likely to have elections early next year, once the revision of electoral rolls is completed. Ravinder Raina, the President of the Jammu and Kashmir unit of BJP, told NDTV today: “During his two-day visit, dates for which will be finalised later, Mr Shah will address political rallies in North Kashmir and also in the Jammu region.”
This will be the second visit to the Union Territory by Mr Shah this year. He was in Jammu and Kashmir on March 18 and 19 to attend the Central Reserve Police Force’s (CRPF) Raising Day.
During a meeting with the core group of BJP leaders from Jammu and Kashmir, held in New Delhi late last month, the Union Home Minister had reportedly instructed party workers to increase their visibility on the ground and participate in mass-contact programmes.
Meanwhile, the Union Territory is currently seeing hectic political activities with former Congress leader Gulam Nabi Azad continuing to get support from defectors from other parties. “In the coming days, we will see more desertions from the Jammu and Kashmir Congress unit and also from two other major parties and Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party,” a political leader, who wished not to be named, said, adding that one is still not sure whether Mr Azad’s new party will emerge as a major force in Jammu and Kashmir or end up merely dividing the anti-BJP vote — particularly in the Muslim-majority areas of Pir Panjal and Chenab.
“[Mr] Azad has also announced his plans to launch the party at a time when cracks have appeared in the PAGD [People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration] — an alliance of political parties seeking restoration of Article 370,” another leader said.
Article 370 of the Constitution, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, was revoked by the Union government in 2019 under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, dividing the state into two separate Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.