Naveen Bharat Editorial
Srinagar: In a major setback to the National Conference (NC), two of its senior leaders Devendra Singh Rana and former minister Surjit Singh Salathia, who were the party’s faces in the Jammu region, on Sunday resigned from the party. There are speculations about the possibility of him joining the BJP.
Rana, a three-time former MLA and brother of Dr Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State in the PMO, and Salathia, a former minister, submitted their resignations to NC President Dr Farooq Abdullah.
“Dr Abdullah has accepted the resignations of Salathia and Rana. No further action or comment is considered necessary,” said a NC spokesperson. Rana, who was the provincial president of the NC for the Jammu region, confirmed to the media that he and Salathia had left the NC. Rana, who was Omar Abdullah’s political advisor during his tenure as Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, had last week added to the speculations of leaving the NC by telling the media that “right now I am in the NC but cannot predict the future “
However, he had given enough hints of leaving the NC saying that he was ready to make any sacrifice for the interests of Jammu. Rana had in January this year proposed the ‘Jammu Declaration’ to forge unity among the Jammu parties for the larger interests of the people of Jammu.
After leaving the NC, Rana vowed to carry forward the ‘Jammu Manifesto’. He described it as the key to bringing the glorious ethos of inclusive Jammu and Kashmir back to its ancient glory. He said that the Jammu Declaration would eventually lead to the removal of the fault-lines created between regions, different sections of the society as well as the rest of the country.
There is speculation that Rana and Salathia may join the BJP in New Delhi on Monday and begin with an agenda of “statehood” for the Jammu region. Earlier, there was speculation that Rana might start a new political party in Jammu as he was already in touch with some Jammu leaders.
wind of change?
After the abrogation of Article 370, the NC had remained largely untouched by abandonment and defection. Till now only one leader Basharat Bukhari had resigned and joined the People’s Conference.