India is a democracy and in a democratic set-up religion, region, caste, creed or colour can’t be a determining factor for appointments to constitutional positions. True! This is what the Constitution of India and the erstwhile Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir also provided. But has this dictum been followed in letter and spirit across Jammu and Kashmir? If it would have been so, does that mean there was none among the non-Muslims in J&K in general and Hindus in particular to wear the mantle of the Chief Minister. People know well why this ‘Unhoni’ didn’t happen so far. And, still if some distinguished members of the civil society tend to pretend ignorance that is their view point. Everyone has a point.
Former J&K DGP Madan Mohan Khajooria: The very proposition linking religious denomination with an elective political office is fundamentally flawed. We are governed by dictates of a Constitution which is democratic, secular, parliamentary and socialist. Religion, according to the letter and spirit of the Constitution, has no relevance in the scheme of things. Religion is recognized as a purely private faith –a connection between the man and the Creator. Voters are enrolled without any religious consideration. So are members of legislatures fielded and elected. The elected leader of the majority party, who is and has to be called by the Governor/Lt Governor of a State or Union Territory, to form the government. Religious or regional affiliations are totally irrelevant. It is amazing that educated and responsible persons talk of “denial “of this privileged position to personages belonging to particular religion or region as unconstitutional. It is not that no member of the minority community has adorned this high office. Many states in this country elected CM belonging to a minority community– Bihar-Abdul Gafoor, Rajasthan Barkat ullah Khan, Bombay Abdul Rahim Antoley ( which included Gujarat) and Assam Syedena Tamur are some glaring examples of the majority party electing a leader of the minority community as the Chief Minister. Not because they were Muslims but on account of their eminence in the party and competence. In our State, now a Union Territory, it was only once that a Hindu of Jammu came closest to becoming the Chief Minister. Not more than half a dozen personages are privy to this secret. In 1963 Bakshi Ghulam Mohd chose to resign under the Kamraj Plan. As the sole leader of the National conference, he had to choose a successor. I was then posted as SP CID (SB), which was responsible for briefing the Prime Minister on a daily basis about the situation prevailing in the State. When Bakshi Sahib returned from Delhi , he was greeted by a massive gathering demanding “Bakshi Sahib Istifa Wapas Lo.. Pandit Ji Phir Socho.” Obviously there was no question of either of these courses being followed. I accompanied the PM from the Airport directly to his residence. He briefed me about what had transpired in Delhi and raised the question. “Who should succeed me?” There could be no agreement on any name. He told me to give the matter a thought and come back at 6:00 PM to continue the deliberation. As I got and was about to leave, he shouted, “I have found the man, come back and listen. Surprised, I quickly occupied my seat, eager to hear what was in his mind. He smiled and said “Lala Dina Nath Mahajan”. Taken aback. I demanded, “”Sir, Are you sure?. Of course, he will be elected as leader of the NC Legislature party. And Sadar-i-Riyasat will call upon him to form the government. He is a very mature and competent administrator and will ensure the continuity of the government policies. After some hesitation blurted out “Will a Jammu Hindu be acceptable?” “Why not. He will enjoy my confidence and the confidence of the Legislative party.” After a few moments he smiled and said Öh . I see. You are worried “how would a Hindu PM will be acceptable to Kashmiri Muslims. “Well you leave that to me. Moreover, is not Karan Singh accepted as Sadar-i-Riyasat? ‘He was also elected by both the Houses’.He went to Delhi with the proposal. They wanted Ghulam Mohammed Sadiq to take over, which was not acceptable to Bakshi. The conflict soared and Bakshi Sahib was arrested and overthrown. Rest is history.
Adv Pawan Khajuria, VP Shri Kailakh Jyotish Avim Vedic Sansthan Trust, Jammu: “Jammu region was always neglected and ignored by Kashmir centric rulers in every aspect. They ruled over erstwhile J&K State now Union Territory right from its accession with India. There is no doubt that after delimitation of constituencies across the UT in future, the Jammu region would have dominance over the Legislative Assembly seats and there is probability that the next Chief Minister will be from the Jammu region only and most probably a Hindu CM as trumpeted by the ruling party at the Centre several times. It is need of the hour to have a humble, honest and dynamic leader, who is ready to accept the challenges for governing the new UT with different parameters. The only leader in Jammu to hold the cause and status of next Hindu CM is Sham Lal Sharma, who is a former minister and is a political stalwart. Sham Lal has always taken a stand for the cause of Jammu and he is a bold, strong and experienced leader who has capabilities to serve the UT. People of Jammu have faith and confidence in him.
Surinder Singh, President Yuva Rajput Sabha J&K: “Jammu & Kashmir must have a Hindu Chief Minister because it is a long pending demand of people, especially from the Jammu region. As per my opinion, the next CM should be selected, keeping in mind the aspirations of Dogras, as they always felt discriminated on this part. Moreover, the CM candidate should be of the stature that he or she does not discriminate the people on the basis of caste, colour and creed and treat all the religions and regions equally.There is a dire need that the CM should be a visionary person, who takes all the sections of society onboard and brings Union Territory out of the trauma and uplift it to new heights of progress and development. The most challenging task for the CM would be to solve the growing problem of unemployment and he/she must have innovative ideas of generating new income and employment avenues.
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