Lotus Appears To Be Blooming In The Stone Pelting Hub Of Kashmir

13 May 2015
DNA
Ishfaq-ul-Hassan

Srinagar: BJP is on a song in the Muslim majority Kashmir. For the last two months the saffron party has enrolled over three lakh members, 50,000 of them in the stone pelting hub of old Srinagar city alone. 'Our membership drive started on February 28 and ended on April 30. So far we have enrolled 3.05 lakh members and their registration forms are in our office. The number of members could touch 3.5 lakh since some forms from different constituencies are still in transit,' Altaf Thakur, media in-charge of state BJP in Kashmir, told dna. What however is icing on the cake for the saffron party is the huge response of the people in the old Srinagar city, considered to be the separatist stronghold and the epicenter of stone pelting. 'We have enrolled more than 50,000 members from the down town city. Sixty percent of the members are youth in the age group of 20 and 28 years. Traditional parties have always exploited youth and kept them busy in stone pelting. Since BJP has come to power at Centre we have focused on eradicating unemployment which is working for us,' said Thakur. BJP, which drew blank in December assembly elections from Kashmir, has created a pool of active members to expand its base on the grassroots level to counter the traditional parties like National Conference, People's Democratic Party and Congress. 'For every 100 members we have made one active member to create a cadre at the grassroots level. So far we have got 1,000 active members across Kashmir', said Thakur. BJP, which got only 48,000 votes in the last assembly polls from Kashmir, is cashing in on the developmental mantra of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make further inroads and woo more and more youth to the party fold in the Muslim majority valley. 'Modiji sab ka saath sab ka vikas has touched the chord with the people of Kashmir. The way Modi ji spent Diwali in Kashmir too contributed to the goodwill. This has gone down well with the people and with the result we have exceeded the membership target of three lakh,' said Thakur. BJP Srinagar office, which usually wore a deserted look before the NDA stormed to power at centre, is now a happening place with people thronging to register their grievances. 'We have so much of rush that we have to request our women leaders to spend two days in the office to listen to the people, particularly women. Those who were stereotyping us have been demolished by the people who have reposed faith in us,' said Thakur.