BJP denies links with Jammu Kashmir Apni Party

Amid accusations of the BJP being “hand in glove” with the Jammu Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP), saffron leaders, while denying any connection with the newbie, say their party is building its own leadership and cadre in the Valley and “will contest independently” whenever elections are held in Jammu and Kashmir.Rivals in the Valley have accused the JKAP of being the “BJP in Kashmir and following the RSS agenda”.The JKAP draws its members from the Valley’s established parties and its chief Altaf Bukhari was a former member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with whom the BJP ran a government in the erstwhile state before parting ways in June 2018. Bukhari was later expelled from the PDP for “anti-party activities”. Around March a JKAP delegation also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah in the Capital. Dismissing speculations and charges that the BJP and the JKAP were playing on one side, BJP national secretary Narinder Singh said “the BJP will always remain independent in Valley”, while party spokesperson Abhijeet Jasrotia added that the Prime Minister and Home Minister belong to the entire country and anyone can meet them. “The BJP has no plans to ally with it, we will form a majority government in the next elections when they happen,” said Jasrotia.“Apni Party has good Kashmir-based leaders. It is a party with no ‘parivarvaad’ (nepotism) and has fresh faces who give hope about new future,” he added. Singh said the BJP was “working to give J&K a credible, educated leadership that has arisen from among the people to form a government that is free of biases, nepotism and corruption,” adding that “cadres are working hard, also risking their lives in Valley, to help build BJP as main party in Kashmir and also help people realise their dreams of a better future”.  Meanwhile, according to leaders here in Delhi, absence of “self-centered” and “negative forces” (from political scenario) in Valley has helped.   Jasrotia says, “Ever since rigging in Assembly elections in 1987, people had lost faith in the local government and democracy. We (BJP) got our chance in 2015. While their (PDP) agenda was just Kashmir and personal interest, the BJP had on mind best interest of entire J&K and its people. “What happened in August 2019 was in its best interest. The state was in the ICU and the surgery has given good results. Incidents of violence/stone pelting have reduced substantially and fresh recruitment in militancy is negligible under the Centre’s control.”