Gujjar-Pahari issue will play a major role in the coming elections in the Poonch-Rajouri belt
POONCH TODAY NEWS
POONCH: The parliament elections are just a few months away, and thereafter, the election commission may conduct assembly elections in J&K as directed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court after giving a historic judgment on Article 370.
Although political parties fight elections on the issue of development, in the sensitive Poonch-Rajouri belt, the Gujjar-Pahari issue is again likely to dominate both elections. On the one hand, the BJP government at the centre tried its best to please the Gujjar community by solving their major demands; on the other hand, targeting Pahari voters by addressing their demand for ST status, which is likely during the coming budget session, is seen as a master stroke of the BJP. Many times, Home Minister Amit Shah said that Paharis will get their due share, and on this issue, the BJP has made inroads in the Poonch-Rajouri belt, which remained mostly with Congress, NC, and PDP. Both Poonch and Rajouri districts have unfortunately remained dominated by the politics of Gujjar and Pahari over the years and not on the basis of development. All the major political parties other than the BJP tried their best to divide the people in Poonch, Rajouri district, on this issue for their personal vote banks. Earlier, the bill came to Parliament, and Paharis were expecting a call on this during the last session. Sources in the BJP Camp told “POONCH TODAY” that the issue will be addressed sooner rather than later. So going by the political permutations and combinations, the next elections are again likely to be dominated by the Gujjar-Pahari issue in the Poonch-Rajouri belt. The BJP is likely to get a huge share of Pahari voters after giving them ST status, if granted; otherwise, opposition parties are strong in this Rajouri-Anantnag seat. Senior BJP leaders played a big role behind the scenes on this issue, and it is likely that the nearly four-decade-old demand for ST status for Paharis will be fulfilled soon. If the BJP-led government fulfills the wishes of the Pahari people, then the BJP would be in a position to perform well in both elections. So, the Poonch-Rajouri region is all set to witness a political tussle on the issue of Gujjar and Pahari in both the parliamentary and assembly elections.