The Bold Voice of J&K

BJP demands inclusion of elected representatives in Shrine Board

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JAMMU: The BJP has stated that the present composition of the Mata Vaishno Shrine Board does not provide for local representation. The members of the Shrine Board are nominated by the Governor without giving any representation to the local people.
“The criteria for nomination is also not known and hence smacks of favouritism and monopolisation resulting in the neglect of local concerns,” said Brig Anil Gupta, state spokesperson of Bharatiya Janata Party.
According to Brig Gupta, as per the practised norms, elected local MLA has to be ex-officio member of any Shrine Board which, in this case, means that sitting MLA of Reasi has to be essentially a member of Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board irrespective of whether he is from BJP or National Conference or Congress or PDP. Some people are misinterpreting this as member of BJP or RSS and issuing unreasonable statements simply because they are obsessed with BJP and RSS, he added.
Brig Anil Gupta further stated that the locals have been agitating for the same for quite some time and have also given a memorandum to the Governor. There is no dispute to the fact that eminent and distinguished people need to be nominated to the Board but there is also a need to democratise the same by nominating the elected representatives, local eminent citizens and civil servants as is done in other Shrine Boards like the Sri Jagannath Temple Board, Gurvayur Shrine Board, Tirupathi and Sabarimalai Temple Boards.
“Over 70-100 lakh devotees visit Mata Vaishno Devi shrine at Katra every year. Over the years it has become the most revered shrine in North India resulting in the growth in numbers of the devotees coming from all parts of the country. It is a major source of revenue providing livelihood to thousands of locals,” said Brig Anil Gupta. “The Shrine is managed by a board with the Governor of J&K as its ex-officio Chairman. The Shrine Board has done a commendable job over the years but has also faced protests and agitations by the locals who are a major stakeholder in the development of the Shrine,” asserted Gupta.
The involvement of the local stakeholders in any envisaged development project is necessary to ensure that their interests are looked after while planning the project and it does not affect their livelihood added Brig Gupta. This can easily be achieved by proper constitution of the Shrine Board and giving representation to democratically elected representatives of the people, he said. “BJP is of the opinion that Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine board should be reconstituted to include the MP, local MLA, one or two local eminent citizens, the local DC and SSP as ex-officio members. This would ensure a wider representation and take care of the sentiments of the local stake holders as well,” said Brig Gupta.

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