Prior to the Anantnag vote, the Saffron Party asks the Paharis and Gujjars for support of the Apni Party

The BJP, which is not running for the seat, has publicly endorsed Zafar Iqbal Manhas, the candidate of the Apni Party, as the election campaigning in the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat heats up ahead of the May 25 vote.

Leaders of the saffron party, who had previously only hinted at their support for the Apni Party candidate, have now begun urging their followers in the Pahari and Gujjar populations in the Jammu districts of Rajouri and Poonch to back the party’s emblem, “bat.”

The Peoples Conference (PC), headed by Sajad Lone, the Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP), led by Ghulam Nabi Azad, and the Apni Party, led by Altaf Bukhari, all openly supported the BJP in J&K. The Tribune has previously reported that the BJP was actively campaigning in the Anantnag region, which includes the Jammu districts of Rajouri and Poonch, despite not having filed a candidate from the area.

At a public gathering in the Poonch neighborhood of Surankote, J&K BJP leader Ravinder Raina urged attendees to back the “bat.” Remarkably, Sheikh Muzafar Ahmed, a candidate for the Jammu and Kashmir Nationalist People’s Front, has been given the sign of a “batsman.” Raina requested that everyone understand the distinction between a “bat” and a “batsman.”

The Congress’s senior vice-president, Ravinder Sharma, said that the saffron party had also failed to complete a railway project that would have connected the area to neighboring areas.

At a cost of Rs 13,000 crore, a railway project to Poonch was surveyed in 2012. Furthermore, a tunnel on Mughal Road was suggested as an all-weather alternative highway route, but these projects have not advanced even after BJP administration for ten years, the speaker remarked.

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