Disillusioned with saffron brigade

The sale of votes by BJP lawmakers has seriously dented the party’s image and angered its supporters, forcing its MLA to resign but analysts don’t expect anything to happen. Sonika Raina reports.

Soon after the Amarnath land agitation, it was for the first time that eleven MLAs of the Bhartiya Janta Party entered the state legislative assembly from Jammu, riding a wave of heightened emotions.

But the BJP lawmakers selling their votes in the Legislative Council elections has dented the image of BJP in Jammu and enraged its suppoters. The BJP in J&K has always claimed to be a party against “Kashmir centric politics in J&K” and in favour of ending the “discrimination meted out to Jammuites”.

The BJP is now in a damage control mode, with the party receiving flak from the people as well as the party high command in New Delhi. All the 11 BJP MLAs tendered their resignation on Thursday over the cross voting by seven of its members favouring the NC-Congress coalition in the Legislative Council elections held in the state.

The MLAs were forced to submit their resignations after the public outcry, party sources said.

“The people of Jammu are very nationalistic and this case of cross voting has disappointed them a lot. They feel betrayed by their party, the party they that has always taken up the cause of the Jammuites.

But the party high command has taken an immediate action on this and asked for the resignation of all the MLAs,” BJP’s chief spokesperson Dr Jitendra Singh said. “The resignation up to some extent justifies the anger of the people. But we agree that it will now take more effort and hard work to regain the trust that people of Jammu had reposed in the BJP.”

An embarrassed state BJP president Shamsher Singh Manhas said they would punish the guilty lawmakers for selling their votes.  “We condemn the whole incident. Whatever the reason, the sale of votes is absolutely wrong and cannot be accepted in any democratic polity. We apologize for hurting the sentiments of people here. We are working hard to find the culprits. They will be punished soon”.

Mohammad Ramzan, Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly who was the Returning Officer in the MLC election, said it was not possible to point out as to which MLA had voted for a particular candidate.

Shocked BJP supporters say they had voted the party in assembly elections for its support to the Amarnath land agitation in 2008.

Jyoti Lochan, lecturer in Government Higher Secondary School Rajouri said, “We had faith in BJP as we thought that this is the only nationalistic party in Jammu and Kashmir. BJP had also talked in favour of the Jammu people during the Amarnath Land agitation that gave us the feeling that BJP favours the Jammu people. But the recent episode has exposed BJP and showed us the true colours of its leaders. Now it is very difficult to trust them again”.

Satinder Sharma, a resident of Old City area of Jammu said, “All politicians are same, they can never think about the people or the nation. We had voted for the BJP with a faith that they will help in ending the discrimination that is being meted out to the people of Jammu for last six decades. But they are hardly bothered about the people here. All what they think about is money and profit”.

People believe that nothing is going to happen as the party that will like to keep its presence in the assembly.

“All members are elected on the basis of manifesto of the party. People repose faith on the party or the members that is why they get elected. Now this cross voting drama has ended all faith of the people of Jammu. People here are very angry on this,” Madan Mohan Khajuria, former DGP of state said.

 “The episode of resignation now also seems fishy. According to the reports only 7 MLAs are involved in cross voting then why all the 11 MLAs resigned. This also seems to be some phony exercise by the party members to mislead the people again.”

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