Ideology Takes A Backseat As BJP, PDP Open Doors For All

27 July 2014
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Dinesh Manhotra

Jammu: Ideology has taken a backseat as two 'ideologically committed' parties - the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) - have opened their doors for all while trying to woo more and more people before the Assembly elections. During the past two months, a large number of people, irrespective of their ideology, have joined these parties. With the beginning of the countdown for the Assembly elections, there is a scramble among social workers, retired officers and politicians, who are annoyed with their parties, and want to join other political groups before the elections. The PDP and the BJP are the two favourite destinations for people who want to play a political inning in the elections. In the recently held Lok Sabha elections, the BJP and the PDP shared three seats each out of the six parliamentary segments of the state and so, these two parties are the natural choices for politicians and retired officers. Interestingly, some politicians and retired officers in Jammu province are trying their luck in both the parties despite the fact that the ideologies of the PDP and the BJP are entirely different. Recently a senior leader of the Congress, while quitting his party, publicly hinted about joining the PDP by announcing that he would wear a green turban for his future politics. A day after this announcement, he took a U-turn and announced to join the BJP to 'serve' the nation and to 'strength' nationalist forces in the state. Two retired police officers were hobnobbing with BJP leaders for a long time but when all their conditions were not accepted by the leadership of the saffron party, they embraced the green flag of the PDP without hesitation. A former minister from Jammu district is in touch with both PDP and BJP. He is looking into the pros and cons of joining each party. This politician was earlier in the National Conference, then joined the BJP and again went back to the National Conference by dubbing the BJP as a 'communal' party. Sources in the BJP said the party leadership was in touch with this former minister because he had potential to give challenge to a sitting Congress MLA. Meanwhile, retired Inspector General of Police Satinder Singh Bijral and some other social activists joined the BJP in the presence of Avinash Rai Khanna, in charge of the state BJP unit and Jugal Kishore Sharma, state BJP president.