SRINAGAR: After parting ways from Congress, former J&K Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has started public outreach in the Jammu region. His political activities, including the announcement of floating a new regional political party, has created a buzz in all important circles that Assembly elections will be held sooner than later in Jammu and Kashmir.
Ghulam Nabi Azad has been holding public meetings in the Jammu region, including in Doda, Bhaderwah and Udhampur districts. He is trying to create a space for his future political party without ruffling the feathers of the BJP in Jammu or of PAGD in Kashmir valley. In all these public meetings so far, he has promised statehood, rapid development and protection of jobs and land for the locals without touching the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A.
According to senior journalists and political circles of Jammu region, Azad can create a good influence in 13 to 15 Assembly segments in Jammu region out of 43 Assembly seats. In Kashmir valley, already most of the senior Congress leaders, including former ministers and lawmakers, have resigned from their party and joined Azad. If Azad pulls up the support base of Congress in some seats of Kashmir valley, it could be from 3 to 5 Assembly segments.
Political analysts in Jammu said that the BJP is confident of having winning ability in 30 to 35 seats of Jammu region and if Azad could get 15 Assembly seats, given his proximity to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he can become the Chief Minister of J&K state.
Both PM Modi and Amit Shah are not in favour of returning to power by Abdullahs and Muftis in Jammu and Kashmir; Azad during his public meeting has also praised Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh for introducing state subject law in Jammu and Kashmir to safeguard the jobs and land of the locals.
Azad has talked about growing unemployment in Jammu and Kashmir and has made it clear that there needs to be safeguards to ensure that local unemployed youth get the jobs here. In Jammu and Kashmir, there is a buzz that early elections could be held in December this year due to the public meetings held by Azad.
In September, Union Home Minister Amit Shah is also likely to come and address some public meetings in Jammu and Kashmir valley also. Azad is treading cautiously in his public speeches and is focusing on development and has expressed his wish to accomplish his unfinished agenda of development during his previous term as Chief Minister in Jammu and Kashmir. It would be interesting to watch how the local politics unfolds in Jammu and Kashmir after the entry of Azad and his desire to get a chance to be the chief minister again. If he wins a few Assembly seats, it is likely that the BJP will support him as the partner to implement the development agenda in Jammu and Kashmir.