Ahead of the coming assembly elections, National Conference suffered a major setback in Jammu as two prominent leaders Devender Rana and Surjit Singh Slathia resigned from the party on Sunday.
The duo is likely to join the BJP on Monday morning in the presence of senior party leaders at party headquarters in Delhi.
Provisional President Jammu and former MLA Nagrota Devinder Singh Rana and former MLA Surjeet Singh Salathia resigned from the basic membership.
Rana was the most prominent face of the National Conference in the Jammu region. He is the younger brother of Union Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh.
This morning both Rana and Slathia submitted their resignations to party president Dr. Farooq Abdullah. Within no time, NC leadership accepted the resignations of both its stalwarts.
The exit of Rana and Slathia is considered a major setback to the National Conference as both had a strong influence in the assembly segments represented by them in the past. Rana managed to win Nagrota assembly segment in the 2014 state polls despite BJP sweeping Dogra heartland of Jammu.
Rana a close aide of Omar; Slathia a blue-eyed boy of Farooq Abdullah
Devender Singh Rana, younger brother of Union Minister, Dr. Jatendra Singh, is a close aide of former Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah. He also served as political advisor to Omar Abdullah when he (Omar) was Chief Minister of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
A prominent businessman of north India, Rana is the most prominent Hindu face of the National Conference in the Jammu region. Despite the massive Modi wave in 2014, Rana had won the Nagrota assembly seat on an NC ticket.
As far as Surjeet Singh Slathia is concerned, he is a blue-eyed boy of National Conference patriarch, Dr. Farooq Abdullah. Slathia has proved his capability as a mass base leader by winning elections from the Vijaypur assembly segment in the year 1996 and 2008.
Despite being dropped from the Cabinet headed by Omar Abdullah without any reason in the year 2013, Slathia remained loyal to the party due to his proximity with Dr. Farooq Abdullah.
Likely to join BJP on Monday
Although both Rana and Slathia have yet not disclosed their next course of action, the duo is going to join BJP on Monday. After tendering their resignation, both Rana and Slathia have reached New Delhi. "Yes, I have resigned from NC. You will get to know about my next move soon", Rana told media persons.
However, sources in BJP said that both the leaders were already in touch with party high-command.
"They are likely to join BJP on Monday along with some other leaders", a source said and added that local BJP leaders have already asked to reach party headquarters on Monday.
BJP hints at assembly elections in J&K in early 2022
The BJP has recently hinted that assembly elections in the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir will be held by the beginning of 2022 to install a democratically elected government.
"We are confident that assembly elections will be held by the start of the next year because the Union Government has repeated assured to install a democratic government in J&K," Ravinder Raina, president of J&K BJP, has stated recently.
Before the beginning of the crucial meeting of the election management of the J&K unit of the party, Raina said that process of redrawing assembly constituencies in J&K will be completed by the end of this year.
"The Delimitation Commission will complete its task this year followed by assembly elections in J&K," he said while referring towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Independence Day address this year. Raina asserted that BJP is well prepared to participate in the assembly elections.