BJP will win 20 Valley seats in Assembly poll: Shahnawaz Hussain

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BJP national spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain, who was in-charge of District Development Council (DDC) polls in Kashmir, told Fayaz Wani in an interview that he was happy that the Lotus has finally bloomed in the Valley and expressed hope that the party will be able to form government in J&K after assembly elections. Excerpts from the interview…

How important is BJP getting three seats in Kashmir?
Our mission was to get the Lotus bloom in Kashmir Valley and it has finally bloomed. We won three seats, though we expected more. We worked very hard on the ground, reached out to the people and listened to their problems and grievances. We even went to the areas where Abdullahs and Muftis had never gone.

Are you satisfied with the poll results?
Democracy has been the ultimate winner in the DDC polls. For us, it does not matter how many seats the party got. What matters is that democracy has won and I salute the J&K people for that. The polling percentage was better compared to previous elections. People came out to vote for development.

The PAGD has emerged as the single largest group. How does the BJP see it?
The BJP emerged as the single largest party and got more votes than those polled by the Gupkar Gang and Congress. The Gupkar Gang was formed by these parties because they were scared of the BJP. Had they not contested as an alliance, they would have been routed. The Congress, the master party of this gang, has suffered another big defeat. We also managed to breach the strong fort of ‘Gupkar Gang’ in Kashmir by winning three seats. They had ganged up to not let the BJP enter this fort, but we have managed to breach it and make the Lotus bloom.

How do you see the decline in BJP’s seat share in Jammu compared to 2014 assembly polls?
These were DDC polls and cannot be compared with assembly and Lok Sabha elections, where issues and priorities are different.

Was the BJP happy with the voter turnout?
It was for the first time since Rajiv Gandhi damaged democracy in J&K by rigging 1987 polls that people came out and voted. There was enthusiasm among the voters and people came out to vote in south, central and north Kashmir. I thank the people for voting in large numbers and standing in long queues in the chilling cold to show their faith in democracy. The polls were held in a free, fair and peaceful atmosphere.

The Gupkar Alliance alleged they were not given a level-playing field?
The Gupkar Gang leaders did not campaign because of BJP’s fear. They should accept the results and not make false claims.

The alliance says it was a vote against Article 370. What’s your view?
This is a total lie. This vote was neither for Article 370 nor 35A. It was a vote for DDC…for development. Many independents who contested against the Gupkar Gang have also won.

When will the assembly elections be held?
It will be held after delimitation. We hope that the support and love we’ve got from people in Kashmir, we will be able to win 20 seats in the Valley and form our own government.

Will the BJP approach independent candidates to form DDC in Srinagar, where only three PAGD candidates have won?
It is too premature to say anything. The party will decide.

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