Amid reports that assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir will be held by the beginning of 2022, the season of political defection has started in the Union Territory as politicians started shifting loyalties.
A day after former minister and ex-president of Jammu and Kashmir People's Movement (JKPM) joined Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party headed by Altaf Bukhari, speculations are rife that Omar Abdullah's close and National Conference stalwart Devender Singh Rana is going to join BJP during the auspicious occasion of Navratras.
"I am still the provincial president of National Conference and whatever I will do, will be shared with media," he told some media persons outside his Gandhi Nagar residence on Monday evening before leaving for Delhi.
Rana, a former MLA, was reacting to the reports that he is going to resign from the party post, which he had taken over in 2011 after relinquishing as political advisor to then-chief minister Omar Abdullah.
Neither denied nor confirmed rumours of joining BJP
Like an astute politician, Rana neither denied nor confirmed rumours that he is going to join the BJP. He, however, sought to play a pro-Jammu card of BJP.
"There will be no compromise over the interests of Jammu region and the wishes and aspirations of its people," he said, adding "as far as the interests of Jammu and its people are concerned, I have requested BJP, Congress, PDP, NC, and National Panthers Party some nine months back to come together for Jammu declaration."
He said it is time to rise above political affiliations and unite for the people of the Jammu region for their betterment.
"We are all residents of Duggar Pradesh, whether we belong to any party. We all need to come together, including intellectuals, civil society, traders…by keeping our differences aside and build a narrative which should be by Jammu, from Jammu, for inclusive Jammu and Kashmir," Rana said
Rana a prominent Hindu face of NC in Jammu
A prominent businessman of north India, Rana is the most prominent Hindu face of the National Conference in the Jammu region. He is the younger brother of Union Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh. Despite the massive Modi wave in 2014, Rana had won the Nagrota assembly seat on an NC ticket. His victory from the Nagrota assembly seat, which was the home constituency of BJP's sitting Lok Sabha member Jugal Kishore Sharma, had proved Rana's capability as a mass leader.
Mustafa Mir joins Apni Party; Nizamuddin Bhat Peoples Conference
Politicians have started shifting loyalties amid reports of assembly elections earlier next year. Two days ago, a veteran politician of Kashmir Valley and senior leader of PDP Nizamuddin Bhat has joined Sajad Lone's Peoples Conference. Lone called it 'Ghar Wapsi' as some 40 years ago Bhat had started his political career from the Peoples Conference.
On Monday, former legislator Javid Mustafa Mir has joined Apni Party. Mir after resigning from the PDP in 2019 had joined former IAS officer Shah Faesal-led Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement (JKPM). Faesal after his release from jail last year renounced politics and since then Mir was heading the JKPM.