January 2016 News

Poor Response To Jammu Rally Worries BJP Leaders

31 January 2016
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Dinesh Manhotra

Jammu: The much-publicised 'Vikas Sushashan Sankalap' rally, organised by the BJP in Jammu city today, received a lacklustre response as the party failed to fill the venue which has a capacity of just 500 people. Although earlier BJP rallies in various parts of the Jammu region received a similar public response, low turnout in today's function was noticeable because Jammu city is considered as the citadel of the saffron party since the days of the Praja Parishad and the Jana Sangh. The low turnout in today's rally demonstrates a widening gap between people and BJP leaders in urban areas. 'Much before the rally, party leadership had realised that the strength will not be on the expected lines so they selected low-capacity Geeta Bhawan as the venue for the function,' a senior leader told The Tribune on condition of anonymity, adding, 'Many eyebrows were raised when party leaders had announced that a rally would be held on the premises of Geeta Bhawan which cannot accommodate more than 500 people.' Most of the chairs at the venue were empty. Geeta Bhawan falls under the Jammu East Assembly constituency which is the saffron party's stronghold but the low turnout has worried the party leadership. One MLC and two MLAs represent the segment. As part of its campaign to highlight the achievements of the Centre and the state government, the BJP had announced in December to organise rallies but the turnout has not been on the expected lines so far. Sources in the BJP said except Samba most of the rallies organised as part of the ongoing campaign had failed to attract expected crowds, an indication of the declining popularity of the BJP after it created history in the 2014 Assembly elections by winning 25 seats from Jammu province. 'People's growing disenchantment with the party is a result of the attitude of BJP ministers who were part of the previous coalition regime headed by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and some senior leaders,' a source said, adding the party leadership has reasons to be worried because the process of conducting the Urban Local Bodies elections has been initiated and will be the test of the performance of the party ministers in the previous government.