In a first, BJP elects 2 women as unit heads in Kashmir

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For the first time, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has elected two women as constituency presidents in Kashmir. The party is holding its first-ever organisational elections in the Valley.

During a function at Bandipora in north Kashmir, Sheikh Gousia Islam was elected the constituency president for Bandipora.“Gousia was elected as the BJP president for the Bandipora constituency today after the party elections in which all booth-level presidents voted,” said BJP media in charge Altaf Thakur.

The party announced the name of Neelam Gaash as the president for Zadibal. Thakur said the elections for this constituency in Srinagar district were held earlier.

State BJP general secretary (organisation) Ashok Koul said the election of two women as constituency presidents was a welcome development as the party believed in gender equality.“The BJP believes in serving men and women equally in the party, which is the only reason it has chosen Gousia as constituency president for Bandipora and Gaash as president for Zadibal constituency.

This is a clear message that the BJP treats all equally and has the mission to carry everybody forward,” he said.Gaash had unsuccessfully contested the last Assembly elections from Zadibal.

Thakur said Gousia had joined the BJP around a year-and-a-half back and she was previously associated with the National Conference.Even though the BJP had failed to win any seat in the Valley during the last Assembly polls, the party cadre here were presently engaged in holding the first-ever organisational elections from October 15.

By electing a president for every constituency, the BJP is looking to target the youth in particular with the hope of realising its dream of winning an election in Kashmir.Thakur said the party had completed theorganisational elections in Srinagar, Budgam, Ganderbal, Kupwara and Bandipora districts.

He said re-elections would be held in four constituencies of south Kashmir following demands of party workers of the area who had alleged that some ‘chosen’ workers had been nominated as constituency presidents without ‘proper election’.Though the BJP is claiming to have enrolled over 3.3 lakh members in the Valley, the claim is yet to be tested. Despite hectic campaigning in the last Assembly elections, only one of the 34 candidates had managed to save his security deposit.

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