Union Home Minister Amit Shah is likely to announce reservations for Pahari speaking community during his two days visit to Jammu and Kashmir on October 1 and 2, BJP sources said on Friday.
As per the party sources, Shah will address a public rally in Rajouri on October 1 in the Jammu division and in Kupwara district of Kashmir division on October 2, spending one day each in the two divisions of the union territory.
“He will announce reservations for the Pahari speaking community whose large population lives in Poonch, Rajouri districts of the Jammu division and Baramulla district of the Valley.
“Shah will kickstart the BJP election campaign in J-K during his forthcoming visit,” BJP sources said.
The delimitation commission has already made reservations for the ST and SC in the 90-member J-K assembly reserving nine seats for the ST and six for the SC candidates.
In addition to this, the delimitation commission has recommended two nominated seats for the Kashmiri Pandit community with voting rights in the legislative assembly on the pattern of the Puducherry assembly.
It has also been recommended that one of the two nominated Kashmir Pandit members should be a woman.
The delimitation commission has also recommended nominated members from West Pakistan refugees, who have already been given voting rights in the legislative assembly, after abrogation of Article 370.
Before the abrogation, the West Pakistan refugees could vote for the country’s Lok Sabha, but not for the J-K assembly.
It is expected that even after Shah kickstarts the BJP assembly election campaign in J-K, these cannot be held this year because of several reasons.
The election commission has fixed November 25 for the publication of final voter lists. This leaves only 36 days before the end of the year.
Filing of nomination papers, their scrutiny and the period for poll campaign, etc., these clearly indicate that given the harsh winter in J-K that starts by the middle of December, the latest J-K elections can be held in April-May 2023.
During his visit, the Union Home Minister will also co-chair top level security meetings with the Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha.
These meetings are likely to focus on tackling militancy in the Kashmir division where despite official claims of ‘residual militancy’, intelligence agencies believe radicalisation of local youth still continues.
“Radicalised local youth are the feeding grounds of militancy in Kashmir,” said a senior intelligence officer.