Opinion: BJP eyes big gains by biting the bullet on Jammu & Kashmir's status

BJP eyes big gains by biting the bullet on Jammu & Kashmir's status
PM Narendra Modi

New Delhi: ‘Articles 370 and 35A are hindering state’s development and progress. Investors are keeping away from Jammu and Kashmir. IIMs could be open, but no one opts to come over and teach here. Nehru’s policies are not working for Jammu and Kashmir today. That should change,’ Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said about the state during the 2019 Lok Sabha poll campaign.

Modi has now implemented what he said then. Removal of special status to Jammu and Kashmir was BJP’s election promise too. A state has ceased to exist with the drastic move. However, BJP sees political gains in the bifurcation of the state. Ladakh is the largest Lok Sabha constituency by area. BJP had won the Lok Sabha seat from here in the recent election. But it is not sure about its chances in Kashmir. A solution to that problem is delimitation, which could be the next step.

Terror strikes and constant unrest on streets of Kashmir have kept investors away from Jammu and Kashmir. Land and building values here are among the worst in the country. Agriculture and handicraft are the two major source of income for Kashmiris. Both sectors are in bad shape. The biggest source of income for the state – tourism – is also hit. BJP claims to develop all three now. State government’s non-cooperation, another reason cited for inability to introduce projects, will not exist either.

Now that Kashmir is a Union Territory, mainstream political parties like PDP and National Conference will have to reinvent their political approach. Rewriting the population dynamics of Kashmir has been a BJP strategy.

The new move will be another step towards to that goal.

On Monday, the Narendra Modi government decided to revoke the 'special status' to Jammu and Kashmir. Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that gives special status to India's border state has been revoked by an order of the president.

The government also scrapped Article 35 A that provided special rights and privileges to the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir.

A bill to convert the state into two Union Territories - Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh has also been passed by the Rajya Sabha.

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