When Jammu demands a Hindu Chief Minister for J&K, it raises eyebrows and when the incumbents have been coming from a particular community only during the past over seven decades, it is dubbed as democratic and secular. Ironically the opinion about a Hindu CM is seen as communal. Some people tend to justify this by quoting secularism and the democratic ethos of governance.
Former MLC Ravinder Sharma: “The debate for having a Chief Minister based on religion, in such a heterogeneous and pluralistic society, with complex problems and so many sensitivities, seems to be more or less defeating the goal of having an equitable share in the political, administrative and economic spheres for Jammu region in any dispensation. Jammu and Kashmir has the unique distinction of rejecting the two nation theory resulting into creation of an Islamic state and opting for a nation which guaranteed liberty of faith and that the state shall not have any official religion.Jammu ‘s urge for an equal participation in every sphere of governance and equitable share in every field, can be better addressed by a united Jammu, based on recognition of its composite character, where every section of the heterogeneous society is guaranteed the protection of their political, social cultural, religious and economic rights and any undue encroachments on the share of anyone of them in the true spirit of mutual coexistence with dignity and honour.Although I express my views here in the individual capacity, still I am a reluctant participant in this debate being an active member of the party which always opposed use of religion as a means to achieve political ends but yes respecting the genuine urges and aspirations of different sections of the society, as per the spirit of the constitution and the principle of unity in diversity, I too have a viewpoint.However there is nothing wrong that a region seeking to assert for its due place and share in every sphere and for its dignity, honour, identity and progress but that is only possible by a united and truly secular approach and assuring each and every section of the pluralistic society of Jammu region, of the full guarantee of their political, social, cultural and economic rights and liberty of faith. So far Congress remains the only party which ensured an honorable deal with rotation of CM between the two major coalition partners and when it came the turn, and set the only CM from Jammu, so far, was installed, although not on the basis of religion or region but by virtue his merit but certainly respecting the spirit of the mandate of the people and ensuring equitable share of governance to Jammu region too . Again, the tradition of having a Dy CM from Jammu region and due share in the cabinet was also established by the Congress. This all was made possible with much less mandate from Jammu region as compared to the party which always espoused Jammu sentiments based on religion but when came the turn, what it bargained, that too, after complete U turn to share power ,was a shame and betrayal of the Jammu mandate.
Adv Kartar Singh, Chairman Lok Kalyan Sangrash Morcha, Basohli: The demand for a Hindu Chief Minister is once again trending in the news these days. In democracy, it should not matter as to who becomes the CM in any State or the Union Territory of the Indian Union. Jammu and Kashmir, the only Muslim-majority erstwhile State and now Union Territory is debating that whether a Hindu can become CM that has never had any non-Muslim head of governments. Behind this call or say a slogan for ‘A Hindu CM’ might be a sense of ignorance or neglect that the community has felt over the decades. The issue of a Hindu CM could be a political game for the BJP and the Congress ahead of the polls but in reality it reflects the sentiments of the Jammu people. I will support a CM who will work for the people and for the development of UT. However, it can’t be denied that the CM from Jammu Province, if elected, will bring more development to the region, ensuring upliftment of poor and weaker sections. For achieving these objectives, the name of Devender Singh Rana, Provincial President National Conference is just striking my mind as he would be the best choice for ‘A Hindu CM’.
Tushar Mahajan, Secretary, Chamber of Traders Federation: “When we talk about a Chief Minister, we must introspect, analyse and find out a dynamic leader from Jammu who has stood for the cause of Jammu and is willing to work for its development. There is dire need of a capable, unbiased and efficient CM for J&K who will work only for betterment of the people, irrespective of his or her party ideology. Moreover, the need of the hour is to have a CM who will work for the upliftment of traders and improving the economy because traders have suffered a lot due to the pandemic. We need a leader who can lead work with zeal and for people and not just become a puppet in the hands of corrupt politicians.”
Som Raj Sharma, Govt employee (Retd): “I want a Hindu to be the Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir whenever elections would be held in the Union Territory because no person from this community has ever been nominated or elected.If I look for the local Chief Minister candidate, the person should have a stable mindset, thorough knowledge of local issues ranging from unemployment to the damage done by the COVID- 19 on the economy and the lives of each and every section of the society.He must have a vision to address these issues of the public in general and the inhabitants of Jammu in particular.I believe Sham Lal Sharma (BJP) fits well for the slot.”
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