Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that was able to win Udhampur and Jammu, the only two, Lok Sabha constituencies in the region last year with a thumping majority seems to have forgotten the numbers.
While the Member Parliament from Udhampur, Dr Jitendra Singh bagged more than 7 lakh votes, the BJP MP from Jammu, Jugal Kishore got more than 8.50 lakh votes.
Even with this high margin of votes, BJP has now forgotten what it had promised and want to keep the Dogras of Jammu busy with ‘advantages’ of revocation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir and turning the state into BJP.
The BJP unit of Jammu was ecstatic on August 5 when the Home Minister Amit Shah announced from Parliament that J&K will no longer have its special status. BJP local unit tried to make people of Jammu imagine that after more than 70 years of discrimination faced by Jammu, it was now “freedom”.
Jammu has been facing a perceived sense of discrimination at the hands of successive Kashmir centric state governments who ignored the sentiments of Jammu continuously. Be it jobs, development or equal share of opportunities, Dogras of Jammu were ignored by these governments.
However even as people of Jammu were overjoyed with the announcement of abrogation of Article 370, little did they know that their happiness was short lived and they would be considered in almost the same way, if not better, by the central government.
After many issues that remained unresolved, BJP led central government installed a toll plaza at Sarore that was objected to by the people of Jammu tooth and nail. Many protest demonstrations were held against the toll and state president of BJP Ravinder Raina even shot off a letter to the Road Transport & Highways minister Nitin Gadkari to remove the toll. However Raina’s pleas fell on deaf ears.
As if it was not enough, another toll was established at Lakhanpur that brought the number of toll plazas in Jammu region to three – one in Ban, Sarore and Lakhanpur. As the people were preparing to protest against the new toll, news of a domicile law that would allow even people from outside the state to compete for jobs came in that infuriated Jammu.
After protest demonstrations, the BJP led central government reversed the decision and reserved all jobs for domiciles of Jammu and Kashmir.
There has been no policy for providing employment to the youth of Jammu and bringing them in the mainstream.
Last but not the least, despite peaceful atmosphere in Jammu, central government has kept 4G internet services in Jammu out of bound for residents. This has made the youth infuriated who are beating the brunt of terrorism in Kashmir.
Many believe that a united Jammu against the ill conceived policies to favor few could deter any such decision of the central government that dents the ego and self respect of Jammu. The need of the hour is to remain united.