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BJP is on a song in the Valley

Wednesday, 23 July 2014 - 6:40am IST | Place: Srinagar | Agency: dna

Ache din aane wale hai, at least for the BJP in the Muslim-dominated Kashmir Valley.

Shunning taboo, Kashmiri Muslims are making a beeline to BJP in a bid to start a new innings with the saffron party which not so far ago was considered untouchable in the Valley.

From doctors to career politicians to social activists, BJP is witnessing a steady stream of people joining the party with a hope to make a cut in the forthcoming assembly polls.

Latest to join the party is Hina Bhat, a 34-year-old dental surgeon whose father Mohommad Shafi Bhat was the only National Conference (NC) politician to join the poll fray in 1990 when Kashmir singed in militant fire.

Much water has flown down the Jhelum and Hina is bracing up to contest from her father's constituency, Amira Kadal in the heart of Srinagar city, on BJP ticket. Her father had contested and won the seat on NC in 1996 before he switched to Congress after he was denied ticket.

Bhat won the seat in 2002 on Congress ticket before his health deteriorated leaving him bed-ridden. Coupled with the apathy of NC and broken promises of its leaders Bhat slipped into oblivion.

"It was prime minister Narendra Modi who said Kashmir issue will be solved within the ambit of democracy, humanity and Kashmiryat. BJP is the only hope for Kashmir," Hina told dna.

BJP is on a high in Kashmir after the recently concluded parliament election. For the first time the party got 15,000 votes which is 166% than last elections in the Valley.

"Usually only five people were visiting our office daily. Such is the popularity that over 500 people visit us daily now. Our membership has touched 1.30 lakh in the Valley which is almost 100% increase," said Altaf Thakur, BJP's spokesman for Kashmir.

Since Narendra Modi took over reigns of power at centre, more than 207 groups have joined the BJP in Kashmir. "Such is the rush that we have to give dates to people for joining the party. Those joining are all Muslims," said Altaf.

BJP had contested all the six Lok Sabha seats in Jammu and Kashmir. The party swept Jammu and Ladakh but drew blank in Kashmir division. This, however, has not deterred the party which is planning to contest all the 46 seats of the valley. "We are confident of winning 10 to 13 seats in the Valley," he said.

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