Jammu’s desire for a Hindu Chief Minister is manifestation of neglect and discrimination of over seven decades. It reflects peoples’ disenchantment with the previous government, which failed in taking along all the three regions instead of the Valley. With Ladakh becoming a UT, Jammu is struggling for political empowerment.
Advocate Deepak Gupta: Jammu & Kashmir State turned Union Territory has a very long history of communal harmony where only few instances are there to show a conflict amongst religions. Although in 90s, due to the rise of extremism in Kashmir, the Kashmiri Pandits had to leave the Valley, resulting in first instance of communal disharmony since independence. But those who are talking about the distant dream of having a Hindu CM have ignored the demographic factor of the UT. As we all know that democracy is the game of numbers and when we talk of politics in Jammu & Kashmir whether it be Congress, BJP, NC and PDP, the principal parties of the erstwhile State who have earlier led the governments hold their epicenter in Kashmir region because it has majority number of Assembly seats. Apni Party, a recently emerged alternative in J&K led by Altaf Bukhari is looking forward to get numbers in the Jammu region as well. Whereas parties battling for a Hindu CM, the baton holder of which is BJP along with few recently formed social groups like IKJUTT Jammu and Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan whose leaders have got a considerable base but will they be able to turn this into a voter base, is a question for all political analysts. But these political parties which have recently started creating their base in the Jammu region will only cut down the committed voters of the BJP , as earlier it was the only party available as the torch bearer of Hindu community. So the Hindu voters, already less in number as compared to other communities, will be divided, thus impacting the chances of having a Hindu CM. So, politically it can only be a myth to talk of a Hindu CM in the UT but if Central Government, after its recent uncalled for Domicile Act, makes strategy for bringing about demographic change, it will be a time consuming and challenging process.
King C Bharati, Senior Journalist: Even though India is a secular country, the religion of the head of the state does not matter, yet the fact remains that J&K had an unwritten law that only Muslim can be the Chief Minister, reason being that J&K was a Muslim majority state. Hence taking this view further I believe that the argument is also against the tenets of a secular country and needs to be balanced by giving equal opportunities to other sections of the society. It is, therefore, imperative that after 70 years of an unwritten communal law J&K now needs a Hindu Chief Minister so that Hindus don’t feel let down. When we talk of Hindus it is obvious that the Hindu CM would be either from Kashmiri Pandit community or Hindu Dogra community of Jammu. If such a situation arises I have a few names in mind who may prove to be excellent Hindu Chief Ministers for the Union Territory. From Kashmiri community I would prefer Ashok Koul, General Secretary (Organisation) BJP as he has vast experience of political and social dealings and is a Swayam Sevak, who cannot be corrupted. From Jammu I have four people in mind. First is Dr Nirmal Singh, who has the experience as Dy CM and naturally should get the promotion, second is Dr Jitendra Singh, who has vast experience of dealing with eight chief ministers of North East as also the PMO, the third is Kavinder Gupta, who did not get much time to prove his mettle as Dy Chief Minister and finally if the party wants a new face then Ravinder Raina gets my vote. My opinion is based on the assumption that BJP like earlier elections would get the majority.
Sushil Kumar Sharma, Chairman All J&K Disable Welfare Association: “Old, disabled and widows are ignored consecutively by all the Chief Ministers of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir State since independence. We have lost all hope from the political parties and their leaders. We have been ruled by one particular community since last so many years and what we received were peanuts and discrimination at all spheres in the Jammu region. Actual minorities in J&K Union Territory are deprived of their rights. We expect a Hindu CM now in J&K who can do justice with the region. We have very limited choice for choosing a person as Hindu CM from Jammu. Still from the major political parties it is only Sham Lal Sharma from BJP who can meet public expectations. Harsh Dev Singh and Ankur Sharma are also the choices but it is not possible to manage the numbers for them to be CM of J&K. Hence BJP should project Sham Lal Sharma as CM candidate who has wide political experience and who can handle both divisions smoothly.
Monika Khajuria, Lecturer:”Yes, Hindus can better rule the state of Jammu & Kashmir. History stands testimony to it. Hindus ruled the erstwhile princely state of Jammu & Kashmir for nearly 150 years and have socially reformed the state. They enacted many laws for socio-economic upliftment of the people, much before the same were enacted and implemented in rest of the country after independence. As, in the recent past, we have witnessed that many political leaders who were either academicians, technocrats or public servants; they have not done much for the welfare of the people. They rather amassed wealth and raised palatial mansions or encroached the government land with the support of the land mafia, higher-ups of the civil and police administration. The political leaders should win the confidence besides heart and mind of the people of J&K then aspire to become Chief-Minister K. The only leader I believe has the capability to become CM is Sham Lal Sharma.”
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