New Delhi: In a jolt to the National Conference in Jammu, its two prominent leaders, Devender Rana and Surjit Singh Slathia, resigned from the party on Sunday. Their resignation was accepted by party chief and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah. Rana, who was NC’s provincial president of the Jammu region, and senior party member and former minister Slathia are likely to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday.
“Dr Farooq Abdullah has received & accepted the resignations of Mr Salathia & Mr Rana. No further action or comment is deemed necessary,” a National Conference spokesman tweeted.
This comes as a major setback to the party as Rana was considered the backbone of the National Conference in Jammu province.
Ending over week-long speculation, Rana announced his decision to quit the National Conference in a brief interaction with media persons outside his house here. “I along with S S Slathia resigned from the basic membership of the National Conference,” he told reporters.
Rana is a former MLA and younger brother of Union minister Jitendra Singh. He had taken over the post of provincial president of the National Conference in 2011 after relinquishing his office as political advisor to the then chief minister Omar Abdullah.
“Now the voice of J-K will come from Jammu which should get its rightful place,” Rana said. He said his political philosophy would be based on the proposed ‘Jammu declaration’.
Rana said his only concern is the interests of Jammu and the wishes and aspirations of the people of the region.
The ‘Jammu declaration’ is an attempt in this direction where people from all walks of life including political parties need to come together, he added.
Rana had proposed the ‘Jammu declaration’ on January 30, a charter to forge unity and reinforce trust between diverse communities and divergent regions of Jammu and Kashmir.
“The core of the declaration will be to engage the people in inter-region and intra-regional dialogue to bridge the fault-lines being created by divisive forces on the basis of region and religion,” Rana had said.
Asked whether his leaving the National Conference is a big loss for the party, he said people come and go and so the resignation of the two leaders would have no impact on it as the NC is a “very big” party.
“I enjoy good relations with both (NC president) Farooq Abdullah and (vice president) Omar Abdullah,” he said.
After proposing the Jammu declaration, Rana had said the BJP was the only party which gave a “big response” to it.