Jammu Declaration, Dogra Pride Takes Devender S Rana To BJP

SRINAGAR: Devinder Singh Rana, the business tycoon who resigned National Conference as the Provincial President, finally landed in BJP today. Surjit Singh Slathia, a former minister, accompanied him. He has been a three-time lawmaker and once the political adviser to the former Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah.

Making a brief speech at the joining ceremony at the party headquarters in Delhi, Rana attributed his entry into BJP as the outcome of the Saffron party’s forthcoming response to his Jammu Declaration. He said there was criticism of his ideation within the party but the BJP was forthcoming.

Jammu declaration, he told the gathering was about generation a secular and inclusive political narrative from Jammu for the entire Jammu and Kashmir. This, he said should be a natural follow up the Eak Pradhan, Ek Niahan and Eak Samvidhan that has already taken place.

Former NC Jammu President, Devinder Singh Rana with Home Minister Amit Shah before formally joining the BJP in Delhi on October 11, 2021. Surjit Singh Slathia also accompanied him to the BJP.

The narrative, he said, is very important because Dogra have issues of deprivation despite being the creators of the Jammu and Kashmir state for which they have given sacrifices. “They are victims of inferiority complex,” he said. “Jammu needs to be made the voice of Jammu and Kashmir.” He made a mention of Dogra General Zorawar Singh who was the key soldier who subdued Ladakh and parts of the Baltistan.

This narrative, he said is vital for preserving Jammu and Kashmir’s secular ethos and to reject the thought process in support of the Dixon Plan, envisaging the division of Jammu and Kashmir.

‘Why Cannot Jammu Raise Voice For The Entire Jammu and Kashmir?’

The Jammu Declaration of January 30, 2021, is being seen by many – even within NC – as a counter to the Gupkar Declaration, a resolution passed by the National Conference, People’s Democratic Party, Congress, People’s Conference, and smaller parties on August 4, 2019, to defend J&K’s special status. The Gupkar Declaration calls for restoration of Article 370 and rescinding of all government orders passed since August 5, 2019, the day the government scrapped Article 370.

After Resignation

Prior to his speech, Rana was shown in a photograph that also had his elder brother, Dr Jintendra Singh Rana, BJP Jammu and Kashmir president, Render Rana and BJP central leaders. In his address, he was accompanied by Jugal Kishore, Dr Nirmal Singh, Kavinder Gupta and many other party leaders.

Devender Singh Rana and Surjit Singh Slathia being formally welcomed in the BJP at Delhi on October 11, 2021.

Those present on the occasion of Rana – Slathia joining include Union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan, Hardeep Singh Puri and Jitendra Singh. The latter is Rana’s elder brother. BJP general secretary in-charge for Jammu and Kashmir Tarun Chugh and its Jammu and Kashmir unit chief Ravinder Raina welcomed them to the party.

Before flying to Delhi, Rana on Sunday afternoon met his followers and vowed to pursue Jammu Declaration, a political roadmap emanating from Jammu, religiously and resolutely. He described the concept as the key to retrieving back the glorious ethos of inclusive Jammu and Kashmir to its pristine glory again.

“Nothing will deter me in realizing this objective and I will single-mindedly work for it even at the peril of my political career”, Rana said while addressing a large gathering from Nagrota block that called on him this morning.

The former MLA said that the Declaration is a way forward to respect the urges and aspirations of all the regions and sub-regions of Jammu and Kashmir with none being discriminated against or dominated politically, socially and economically. Each one, irrespective of region, religion or caste, must have equal rights on resources and in governance. Fair play and justice should not only be the bedrock of the political system but even the perception of one being appeased at the cost of the other due to politico-strategic expediencies should become an imperative of the past, he said, adding that the Jammu region has hugely suffered on all these counts over the decades.

Rana exuded confidence that the Jammu Declaration will eventually lead to offset the fault-lines created between the regions, various segments of society, as also with the rest of the country. The trust deficit of decades is, therefore, needed to be bridged for ensuring harmony and unity between peoples, the regions and the sub-regions in this part of the country.

He said the narrative coming from secular Jammu will set in motion the process of intra-region and inter-religious discourse, crucial for unity and harmony. The engagement has to be holistic, between regions, sub-regions, religious communities and ethnic groups. All these form the core of the land of saints and sages from times immemorial. This glorious heritage is required to be retrieved, sustained and further strengthened to bequeath posterity the great legacy of their ancestors, who made Jammu and Kashmir proud. To achieve this, a collective effort is needed to find out the genesis of fault lines and to suggest course correction measures, he added.

Rana said the Jammu Declaration has caught the imagination of the people in general and the intelligentsia, civil society and the entire political class in particular, as it holds promise for marginalized segments of society and neglected regions and sub-regions. He said Jammu has to play a major role in making the Declaration a success and this will be a befitting contribution towards the idea of J&K and the idea of India.

Rana urged the people of Jammu to be the flag bearers of the narrative of inclusive Jammu and Kashmir, the core of the Jammu Declaration, as it does not reflect the agenda of any individual. It is an agenda of the people, by the people and for the people of Jammu and Kashmir, who have suffered economically, politically and psychologically over the years. Now the time has come to end the era of uncertainty and usher in the era of peace, progress and development, he asserted.

“By holding the banner of the Jammu Declaration, we have nothing to lose but everything to gain by making J&K a better place to live in and a real jewel in the crown of our great nation”, he maintained.

Referring to the sentiments expressed by the prominent persons of the Nagrota Block, Rana said he is overwhelmed by the affection they have bestowed upon him over the years. He said their support and cooperation has been and would be the biggest and valued treasure for him. He assured them that he will work for them with renewed vigour.

More Resignations

Meanwhile, the Provincial Secretary, two District Presidents, two Municipal Corporators, one Block President and several district and block committee members of National Conference from District Jammu resigned from the party and conveyed their support to Rana.

The leaders, who resigned from the National include Arshad Choudhary, Provincial Secretary Jammu Province, Dharamveer Singh Jamwal, District President, Jammu Urban, Som Nath Khajuria, District President Jammu Rural ‘A’ and Ashok Singh Manhas Block President Bhalwal and Municipal Corporator, S. Sucha Singh Municipal Corporator,  Smt. Rekha Langeh, Block President Women Wing, Block Mathwar.

Meanwhile, members of the District Committee Jammu and Kashmir National Conference, District Jammu Urban also tendered their resignations from their posts as also from the basic membership of the party. They include S Sucha Singh, Sanjeev Gupta, Sanjeev Handa, S Ajeet Pal Singh, Dalbir Singh, Rahul Sharma, Sanjeev Dewan, Kuldeep Ghai, S Jaswinder Singh, Sanjeev Mahajan, S Gurinder Singh all vice Presidents and Ashok Kumar, Joint Secretary of district Jammu Urban.

Block Committee members of Jammu and Kashmir National Conference Block Jammu West have also tendered their resignations. They include Surinder Khanna, Block Secretary, Rajinder Bandral, Chain Singh Jamwal, Balram Singh Anthal and Kulbushan Singh Block Vice Presidents of Block Jammu West.

Reaction

NC avoided speaking on Rana’s exit and entry into BJP formally. Shameema Firdous, however, told reporters that Rana’s exit from the party will have no impact on the oldest party of Jammu and Kashmir. People come and people leave, she said.
Omar Abdullah talked to Karan Thapar in an interview about the situation in which Rana’s resignation also cropped up. “Abdullah unhesitatingly and clearly said this had personally upset and shaken him,” The Wire reported. “A visibly emotional Abdullah said he had repeatedly defended Devender Singh Rana against other party colleagues, who were claiming for weeks that he would leave the party.”

NC senior leader and a friend of both Omar and Rana, Nasir Aslam Sogami has told local news gatherer, KNS that Rana lacked an evident reason for quitting the party. “I shared a very good bond with him. We have worked together during our political career and we have always faced uncertainties in the political career together,” Sogami said while terming Rana’s decision “unfortunate”.

Sogami has said that Rana had not expressed any valid reason to resign from the party, nor has he informed anything about it in the meeting with Dr Farooq Abdullah. He said the party will remain strong in Jammu. “People now are talking about Jammu but National Conference from the very beginning has always stood up for the rights of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh division and will continue to do so in the future.”

However, former Union minister, Saifuddin Soz – who also had resigned from NC to join Congress in 1999 – has claimed that Rana’s entry into BJP is a “larger plot that characterizes Modi’s organized response to the Kashmir situation.”
“A knowledgeable source at Delhi described Davinder Singh Rana’s exit From National Conference as a tip of an iceberg that is Modi’s Kashmir Plan,” Soz said in a statement. The former minister said that this response has a sub-plan of dealing with border areas like Karnah, Keran, Gurez, Tulail, Kargil and Ladakh areas with special care. “That, in nutshell, means that if we have fallen to bad times, the worst phase is yet to come,” Soz warned.

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