The National Conference suffered a major setback in Jammu when two prominent leaders Devendra Rana and Surjit Singh Salathia resigned from the party on Sunday.
He is likely to join the BJP in Delhi on Monday.
A National Conference spokesperson tweeted, “Dr. Farooq Abdullah has received and accepted the resignations of Mr. Salathia and Mr. Rana. No further action or comment is considered necessary.”
Mr. Rana, who was the provincial president of the NC’s Jammu region, announced his decision to quit the National Conference during a brief interaction with media persons outside his home in Jammu for weeks about leaving his party and joining the BJP. That puts an end to the ongoing speculation.
“I have resigned from the original membership of the National Conference along with (senior party colleague and former minister) SS Salathia,” he told reporters.
Rana, the younger brother of former MLA and Union minister Jitendra Singh, took over as the National Conference’s provincial president in 2011 after leaving his post as political advisor to then chief minister Omar Abdullah.
Rana, who is considered to be the backbone of the National Conference in Jammu province, said, “Now the voice of Jammu and Kashmir will come from Jammu which should get its rightful place.”
He said his political philosophy would be based on the proposed ‘Jammu Declaration’.
Mr. Rana said that his only concern is the interest of Jammu and the wishes and aspirations of the people of the region.
He said that the ‘Jammu Declaration’ is an effort in this direction where people from all walks of life including political parties need to come together.
Mr. Rana had on January 30 proposed a charter ‘Jammu Declaration’ to build unity and strengthen trust among different communities and different regions of Jammu and Kashmir.
“The core of the declaration will be to engage people in intra-regional and intra-regional dialogue to bridge the fault-lines being created by divisive forces on the basis of region and religion,” Mr. Rana had said.
Asked whether his leaving the National Conference was a big loss for the party, he said people come and go and hence the resignations of both the leaders will not affect him as the NC is a “very big” party.
“I have good relations with both (NC President) Farooq Abdullah and (Vice President) Omar Abdullah,” he said.
After proposing the Jammu manifesto, Rana had said the BJP was the only party to have given a “big response” to it.
Meanwhile, the NC nominated senior leader Ratan Lal Gupta as the provincial president of Jammu till elections to the post are held on October 16.
“Party General Secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar has issued a notification regarding the election of the Provincial Presidents of Jammu and the Valley to be held on October 16,” the spokesman said.
Senior party leaders Chaudhry Mohammad Ramzan and Ali Mohammad Dar have been nominated as election officers for Kashmir province and Sheikh Mustafa Kamal and Anil Dhar for Jammu province, he said.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NB staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)