Rana, Slathia quit NC, join BJP

Kashmir Times. Dated: 10/12/2021 11:16:01 AM

KT NEWS SERVICE
NEW DELHI, Oct 11: A day after resigning from the National Conference, Devender Rana, the former head of its Jammu division, along with another party leader Surjit Singh Slathia joined the BJP on Monday.
Rana and Slathia joined the BJP at its headquarters in New Delhi in the presence of Union ministers Dharmendra Pradhan, Hardeep Singh Puri and Jitendra Singh.
Rana, who is a former MLA and the younger brother of Union minister Jitendra Singh, has also served as a political advisor to former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah.
BJP general secretary in-charge for Jammu and Kashmir Tarun Chugh and its Jammu and Kashmir unit chief Ravinder Raina welcomed them in the party.
Rana has been advocating for the Jammu declaration - a joint declaration of several political, social and business organisations, primarily demanding restoration of statehood for the Jammu region and not for the whole Jammu and Kashmir.
In 2019, the Centre had revoked the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir's special status and bifurcated it into union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
NC president Dr Farooq Abdullah on Sunday evening accepted the resignation of Rana and Slathia without passing any comment. Rana is a three-time legislator and served as the political advisor to Omar Abdullah when the latter was chief minister of J&K.
Rana vowed to pursue and see the fruition of the ‘Jammu Declaration’, a 2020 call by political parties and social organisations for the restoration of statehood for the Jammu region. Unlike the Gupkar Declaration of Kashmir-based political parties, the Jammu Declaration does not mention the restoration of special status for J&K which was revoked in 2019.
“Nothing will deter me in realising this objective and I will single-mindedly work for it even at the peril of my political career,” Rana said, adding that the Jammu Declaration is a way forward to respect the urges and aspirations of all the regions and sub-regions of Jammu and Kashmir with none being discriminated against or dominated politically, socially and economically. Rana said he was confident that the Jammu Declaration will eventually lead to offset the fault-lines created between the regions, various segments of society, as also with the rest of the country.
“The trust deficit of decades is, therefore, needed to be bridged for ensuring harmony and unity between peoples, the regions and the sub-regions in this part of the country.”
Unofficially, NC has dismissed Rana’s resignation as a non-event. “He (Rana) should first clear who has come up with a Dixon Plan idea recently for which he says has launched what he calls the Jammu Declaration,” says a senior NC leader pleading anonymity.
He says the NC will not suffer in Jammu on account his departure from the party. “We have strong and tall leaders in Jammu. Rana wanted to leave the party and needed some justification and hence came up with his own idea of the Jammu Declaration. We wish him good luck,” he says.
Rana said the Jammu Declaration is a roadmap to defeat the votaries of the Dixon Plan who want to divide the Jammu region on the basis of religion. Rana’s ideas have many takers in Jammu. Sir Owen Dixon, the U.N. Representative who came to the subcontinent pursuant to the Security Council’s 1950 resolution on the Kashmir dispute, is remembered by people of Kashmir nostalgically and his ‘Dixon Plan’ is still talked about. Dixon plan assigned Ladakh to India, the Northern Areas and Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) to Pakistan, split Jammu between the two and envisaged a plebiscite in Kashmir Valley.
The Jammu Declaration is seen as counter to the Gupkar Declaration, a resolution passed by the National Conference, People’s Democratic Party, Congress, People’s Conference, and smaller parties on August 4, 2019, to defend J&K’s special status. The Gupkar Declaration calls for restoration of Article 370 and rescinding of all government orders passed since August 5, 2019, the day the government scrapped Article 370.

 

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