BJP CLAIMS SURGE IN KASHMIR MEMBERSHIP
BJP membership surging in Kashmir??
NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday claimed that it has enrolled three lakh members in Muslim majority Kashmir Valley with 50,000 alone in volatile and separatist centric old Srinagar, triggering concerns among the valley based parties.
However, National Conference reacted by saying that these numbers are not "trustworthy".
"We started the membership drive on February 28, and have enrolled 3.05 lakh members so far in the Valley only" said Altaf Thakur, media in-charge of BJP state unit in Kashmir.
The party is optimistic that in the coming months, the numbers will surge and could reach 3.5Lakhs.
"In some constituencies, the numbers are still in transit and we could touch 3.5 lakh base in Kashmir" Thakur added.
But what is more astonishing is that BJP claims that it has almost 50000 members in old city Srinagar - the volatile part of the Valley and stronghold of separatists.
The old centre is also the epicentre of stone pelting in Kashmir and have remained in forefront during the famous uprisings of 2008 and 2010.
"We have enrolled more than 50,000 members from the downtown city. Sixty percent of the members are youth in the age group of 20 and 28 years" Thakur said.
Blaming other political parties for exploiting the youth and dragging them in stone pelting, Thakur said that their party's stand at the Centre for educated youths are bearing fruits for them in Valley.
"Traditional parties have always exploited youth and kept them busy in stone pelting. But our party is focussed on providing employment, which is working for us here" Thakur said.
BJP, which drew blank in December Assembly elections from Kashmir with almost all of its contesting candidates losing security deposit, has created a pool of active members to expand its base in the Valley and give tough competition to regional parties like PDP and NC.
"For every 100 members we have made one active member to create a cadre at the grassroots level. So far we have got 1,000 active members across Kashmir", said Thakur.
Meanwhile, refuting BJP claims, National Conference has said that these numbers are not “trustworthy”.
"The resistance movement is strong in old city. I don't think there will be such an ideological shift in favour of the BJP here," said National Conference General Secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar .