Press Trust of india

Former MLC among dozens of Pahari activists join BJP in Jammu

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Jammu:  Dozens of Pahari activists, including a former MLC, joined the BJP on Saturday and pledged to strengthen the party at the grassroots level.

The BJP’s Jammu and Kashmir unit chief Ravinder Raina welcomed the new entrants, mostly affiliated with the National Conference, into the party fold.

Former Member of Legislative Council (MLC) Syed Mohammad Rafiq Shah, who had switched over from the National Panthers Party to the National Conference in 2019, and his supporters joined the BJP at the party’s headquarters in Jammu.

Several prominent Pahari leaders, including former minister Mushtaq Ahmad Shah Bukhari and former MLC Shahnaz Ganai, had earlier joined the BJP after the central government added four more communities, including the Pahari-speaking people, into the Scheduled Tribes list earlier this month.

Shah, a resident of the Trehgam area in north Kashmir, said, “I have taken a conscious decision to join the BJP, given Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts for development, peace and providing justice to the deprived sections of society.”

As chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Pahari Tribal Movement for more than 25 years, he said they have been struggling for political, social and economic rights of the community that were finally fulfilled by the Modi government.

“The previous governments used us as a vote bank only but justice was done by the Modi government,” Shah, who was seen in the prime minister’s public rally in Jammu on February 20, said.

In a separate function, dozens of Pahari activists led by prominent National Conference leader Mohd Ayub Pahalwan from Kotranka in Rajouri joined the BJP in the presence of Raina.

“The joining of political stalwarts in the BJP is a stamp on the works done by the prime minister in Jammu and Kashmir,” the BJP leader said.

Raina said the party’s doors are open for everyone who wants to join and serve the people.

“I want to assure the new entrants that their honour and position will be respected so that they can serve their people in a better way,” he said.


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