Wahid Bhat | Srinagar
The BJP, which is trying to strengthen its base in Kashmir, is preparing to make a big political upset soon as per the sources.
If sources are to be believed, the party’s state unit has completed the preparations for the coup in Srinagar Municipal Corporation and a no-confidence motion could be brought against Mayor Junaid Azim Mattoo and Deputy Mayor Sheikh Imran soon.
It is discussed that in their place BJP leader Arif Raja can be elected as Mayor and Nazir Ahmed Gilkar as Deputy Mayor. Although it is discussed that Mattoo has also discussed with the BJP leadership amid fears of vicissitudes, but the matter has not been formed yet. On the other hand, Mattoo has only described it as speculation.
Mattoo was elected mayor on a People’s Conference ticket with BJP’s support. Sajjad Gani Lone, chairman of the People’s Conference, was also a cabinet minister from BJP’s quota in the BJP-PDP coalition government that took power in Jammu and Kashmir in 2015. He has also been describing the Prime Minister as his brother.
However, he turned against the BJP on the topic of reorganization of the state. He has been in custody since then. Mattoo and Imran also remained in constant custody. Junaid Matatu was released from custody on health grounds last month and is currently undergoing treatment in Mumbai.
The BJP has started strengthening its base amid the inaction of political parties in Kashmir. It is being told that senior leaders of BJP’s state unit have been continuously meeting in Srinagar with People’s Conference, National Conference, Congress and independent corporators. It is being told that the state general secretary of the BJP, Ashok Kaul, has himself in command. At present, he is silent on this issue.
Long running preparation
If sources are to be believed, the BJP had prepared the coup only last month but the support of some councilors fell short. At present, this deficiency has now been bridged and a motion of no confidence can be brought soon. On getting the green signal from the high command, the pro-BJP corporators will soon write a letter to the government and call for a meeting of the municipal corporation and demand a no-confidence motion. The Srinagar Municipal Corporation has 70 corporators. Only four of these belong to the BJP. Congress has the highest number of 17, Peoples Conference 15, NC 11 and 23 other independents.
Who is Junaid Mattoo
Junaid Mattoo of the People’s Conference became the Mayor of Srinagar on 6 November 2018. Then he had the support of 40 councilors including BJP. Prior to this he was associated with the National Conference and before the election he joined the People’s Conference. Mattoo contested from four wards of Srinagar and won three.