The question is simple and straight. Should J&K have a Hindu Chief Minister? If not, why? Is it the entitlement of a particular community or a particular region, with the only exception of Ghulam Nabi Azad donning the mantle? If the Constitution doesn’t bar a Hindu to occupy this executive position in the Union Territory, why has the political hierarchy made it a thumb rule to have the incumbent from a particular religion?
Daya Sagar Sr Journalist / Political Analyst/ Social Activist : The slogan or the question, J&K must have a Hindu Chief Minister! But who?, has been picked for gathering opinions about. It cannot be ignored that we are living in a multiparty democratic system and such a condition cannot be laid by law. What to talk of UT J&K, even in no other Indian state a political party can afford to go in elections promising that it will give or support a Chief Minister (CM) only from a particular community. Those who believe that J&K has not developed the way it should have (particularly referring to areas outside Kashmir valley) and profess that it has been so since so far CMs of J&K have been from other community ( Muslim) must first create on ground environment where only a party with Hindu candidate in lead could succeed thereby either forcing main potential political parties to keep a Hindu candidate in lead or those who want a Hindu Chief Minister must vote for only that party that has kept Hindu face in lead ( not caring whether the candidate wins or loses ). If a political party feels that the overall governance could be better and impartial with a Hindu in the lead what maximum the party could do is to keep a Hindu face in the lead; to seek the support; give support to a party that accepts its candidate or too has one from the same community. With the political culture of the day, no major political party can afford to jump in the elections with a community based slogan. Anyway, the major parties do have senior leaders from Hindu community as well and likewise, to quote Congress can keep in lead with senior leaders like Mula Ram, Madan Lal, National Conference can go with Surjeet Slathia, Devendra Rana and Ajay Sadhotra; BJP can go with senior leaders like Jugal Kishore, Prof Nirmal Singh, Bali Bhagat, Ravindra Raina and Dr Jatinder Singh; Apni Party can go with Vijay Bakaya in lead and like . Keeping in view the way things have been going on over the past more than 6 years, how far the wishes of those people, who profess solution only with Hindu CM slogan for unbiased handling of the UT of J&K affairs (as regards agriculture, horticulture, tourism, industrialisation , administration, handling separatists) get fulfilled, could be rated only after ‘the wish’ happens. Yes, if the political parties so desire, they could pick up someone from outside the active political arena of the day too.
Advocate Upasana Thakur, General Secretary Young Lawyers Association Jammu: “As constitutionally, there is a set procedure to have a CM of J&K.The Legislative Assembly, consisting of 111 members, chosen by direct election from the territorial constituencies, elect their leader who is appointed as Chief Minister. Of the 111 seats, 87 were in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh while the rest of 24 seats were allocated to PoK and remain vacant. Now we are demanding a Hindu CM but why we are not demanding proper delimitation to ensure unbiased distribution of constituencies and bring back those 24 remaining seats under control of J&K. We must demand immediate assembly elections. When we talk about a Hindu CM, then we need to introspect first and find a dynamic leader from Jammu who has always stood for the cause of Jammu and who is honest. We are in dire need of a capable, unbiased and efficient CM for J&K who tends to work only for betterment of the people irrespective of his or her party ideology.In my opinion, we have two dynamic leaders in Jammu who have always spoken and stood for J&K. They are former minister Harsh Dev Singh and NC stalwart Devender Singh Rana.
Rajeev Sharma, Social Activist: “It is a well known fact that Jammu region was always neglected and ignored by Kashmir based political leadership and the reasons behind this is lack of political awareness and empowerment of the Jammu people, especially the political leaders. Where in the constitution is it written that a Hindu from Jammu cannot become a Chief Minister?If we can have APJ Abdul Kalam as President of India from our Muslim brethren or if we can elect Manmohan Singh as our PM for 10 years then why we cannot have a Hindu CM in J&K? People of Jammu are thankful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Central Govt for abolishing Article 370 and 35A that has opened the doors for development. This will also empower the leadership of Jammu region. This is the time to choose the leader who has a vision and clear mind to work for the betterment of people of Jammu as well as Kashmir, The CM should be selected, keeping in mind the aspirations of Dogras, as we always felt discriminated on this part.There are many leaders from different political parties who are capable of becoming the CM but in my opinion Ashok Koul is the best candidate who can do justice with this highest post. Ashok Koul is Organisational Secretary of J&K BJP and has experience about political scenario as well as geography of Union Territory. He is a grass-root worker, connected with the masses and knows the ground realities of the UT. He has a long political career and the BJP must utilise his political acumen. It is the right time that BJP could nominate Ashok Koul as their CM candidate for next elections in J&K.
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