On the occasion of the birth anniversary of Syama Prasad Mookerjee on Friday, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s top leadership indicated it was keen to install a “Hindu chief minister” in Jammu and Kashmir soon, and the Centre was also looking for a successor to Governor N N Vohra.
Mookerjee, the founder of BJP’s predecessor Bharatiya Jana Sangh, died in 1953 in Srinagar. He had been leading protests against the special status granted to the state and advocated abrogation of Article 370. The BJP, and the Sangh Parivar, hopes to bring the issue of Article 370, part of its core agenda, to boil in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections.
At the BJP headquarters in New Delhi, party chief Amit Shah-led other leaders to pay tributes to Mookerjee with the battle cry ‘jahan huyebalidan Mookerjee, wah Kashmir hamara hai’ (the Kashmir where Mookerjee sacrificed his life is ours).
Jammu and Kashmir is currently under governor’s rule after BJP walked out of its coalition government with the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) that Mehbooba Mufti had headed. Party sources said the BJP was exploring options to form a government in the state after the end of the Amarnath Yatra by the end of August.
The BJP has 25-legislators in the 87-member state assembly, while PDP has 28, National Conference 15, Congress 12 and smaller parties have 7. The BJP, however, can only form the government if there is a split in PDP ranks. There are reports of disunity in PDP. The Jammu and Kashmir assembly has a six-year term. Elections were held in December 2014.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also paid his tributes to Mookerjee. He shared a picture on Twitter of Mookerjee with B R Ambedkar and said, "both were ministerial colleagues and had a futuristic vision for India's growth". The two were ministerial colleagues in the Jawaharlal Nehru-headed first council of ministers of independent India.
Modi also praised Union minister Arun Jaitley for his blog post on Mookerjee, saying it highlighted the Bharatiya Jana Sangh founder's commitment towards a "strong and united India as well as the anti-democratic nature of the Congress".