BJP’s Hina confident of ‘Lotus Blooming’ in Kashmir -
BJP’s Hina confident of ‘Lotus Blooming’ in Kashmir
Posted 03 Jun 2019 05:29 PM

Taking lot of pride in being the first “Muslim Kashmiri woman” to have joined the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a party that is considered an outsider in the Valley, Dr. Hina Bhat claims that her party is now making a mark in the restive region. Without mincing words, she favours imposition of ban on socio-political and religious organisations which, according to her, disrupt the peace process or support militancy. Undecided whether she would contest the upcoming Assembly elections from prestigious Amirakadal constituency, Dr. Hina gives her views on contentious Articles 370 and Article 35 A in an interview with STATE TIMES Correspondent MUHAMMAD MUKARAM.
Here are the excerpts……
Q: Given the low voter turnout in the recently-concluded parliamentary elections in Kashmir, how do you assess BJP’s performance which failed to win a single seat from the Valley?
HB: The low voter turnout is not an issue for us. It has been an issue since the early 1990s. The BJP is not the only mainstream party in Jammu and Kashmir. We have been contesting here since 2014 Assembly elections at a time when we didn’t have any cadre, but now we have candidates in all the constituencies across the State. We first took off without a runway; we landed safely, and also succeeded in forming the coalition government. I will not give you a number how many votes the BJP will get in Kashmir Division, but we have candidates who are willing to contest.
Q: Is the BJP still an outsider in Kashmir, or, you think there is a support base at the grassroots level now?
HB: Well, I was the first Muslim woman who joined the BJP way back in 2013. Once that happened, a flood of people came in and continue doing so. Initially, we didn’t have many members, but in the very first year we had over 3,00,000 registered members. Now the number has gone up further.
Q: Your party in its manifesto claims that it will abrogate Articles 370 and 35 A. Given the massive anxieties in Kashmir regarding the state subject law and perceived threat to demographics, What do you have to say?
HB: Article 370 has already been diluted by the previous governments. There is hardly anything left. Just the shell. Because of lack of awareness many people, including political parties, don’t know what Article 370 actually stands for. Please read and know what it was and what is left now? The opposition has no agenda except this.
Q: Why the BJP is not coming clean in telling the people of J&K that Article 370 has already been abrogated. Why is your party talking about its abrogation in every single manifesto since the 1990s?
HB: Unfortunately, people don’t want to accept the real status of Article 370. Only sensible are aware of it. The opposition parties make a fool of people that they will safeguard Article 370, but they forget that they have abrogated Article 370 long back. Our party’s stand is clear that we will debate and discuss Articles 370 and 35 A.
Q: How do you view the imposition of ban on the Jama’at-e-Islami and Mohammad Yasin Malik-led Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front by your government in New Delhi?
HB: First, as a Kashmiri, and then as a BJP leader from the Valley, I think Government of India should clamp ban on all organisations which support militancy or create hindrance in the peace process.
Q: In Khadi Village and Industries Board (KVIB) what reforms have you brought since you took over as its chairperson?
HB: The KVIB has been beneficial to many unemployed youth. The department, which is funded by the both the central government as well as the State government, generates employment. We have disbursed subsidies worth Rs 56 Crore to the beneficiaries. In one single day we disbursed Rs 17 Crore under REGP (a new scheme). Under Prime Minister Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) the maximum cases that benefited were from J&K and the subsidy amount has already been credited to the beneficiaries’ accounts. J&K is now top of the MSME list.
Q: What is the difference between then and now?
HB: I don’t look back. What has happened in the past is past. I believe that work should be done systematically and whosoever wants to get benefited from the KVIB, (s)he should get. And I want people to be aware about all the KVIB schemes.
Q: Under the previous PDP-BJP coalition government, the KVIB made headlines for all the wrong reasons over the recruitment process. Former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had to order an inquiry. Now you are at the helm, can you shed some light on the controversy and the state of the inquiry?
HB: See, I don’t want to comment on what the previous government has done, whether good or bad. Yes, an inquiry has been ordered by the then Chief Minister. It is still under process. Once the inquiry report comes out, a right decision will be taken accordingly.
Q: What are your future plans? Will you contest the upcoming Assembly elections from Amira Kadal?
HB: It is all up to the party leadership. Only they will decide whether I should contest or not.

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