The Lead

Gujjar leader Ghulam Ali’s Rajya Sabha nomination leaves J&K surprised

BJP leader Ghulam Ali

Jammu: In a jaw-dropping surprise for all political and social circles in Jammu and Kashmir, Ghulam Ali, a little-known political activist associated with the Bhartiya Janta Party, has been nominated to the Rajya Sabha.

Coming from Gujjar tribe, Ghulam Ali is an Engineer by profession. A resident of Bathindi neighbourhood in Jammu, Ghulam Ali joined BJP in 2008, a time when very few Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir had inclination for the saffron party.

Ali was on Saturday nominated to Rajya Sabha by President Draupadi Murmu on the recommendations of the Government of India. A Gazette notification to this effect was issued by the Home Ministry late on Saturday evening. BJP leader Amit Malviya was among the first to break the news on twitter.

All along his fourteen years in BJP, Ghulam Ali has maintained low profile. He served the party in various wings including the Scheduled Tribe cell. He is currently one of the state spokespersons.

Speaking to The Dispatch, BJP’s president for Jammu and Kashmir, Ravinder Raina said that Ali’s nomination was a careful decision arrived after consultations of a couple of months. He said many names were considered but Ali’s name got stamp of approval from the highest level.

The Prime Minister and Home Minister are believed to have personally okayed Ghulam Ali’s name after considering many other options, including a couple of serving bureaucrats and senior leaders drawn to BJP from other parties.

“The search was for a Gujjar leader and there could’ve been a better choice”, Raina told The Dispatch when asked why Ghulam Ali was chosen. He said, “Engineer Ali joined the party when no one would have actually imagined BJP coming to power at national level or in Jammu and Kashmir”. “Through all difficult times he remained a committed worker of the party without any personal interest”, Raina said.

Raina further said that the Gujjar community has always been patriotic and nationalist to the core and their sacrifices need to be honoured and recognised.

Ghulam Ali is the second Gujjar leader from Jammu and Kashmir to go to Rajya Sabha. Choudhary Mohammad Aslam, a veteran Congress leader, was in Rajya Sabha a couple of decades ago.

Jammu and Kashmir, it may be mentioned here, does not have representation in Rajya Sabha after retirement of four members in February 2021. No new member could be elected due to absence of the Legislative Assembly, the electoral college for the Rajya Sabha.

Ghulam Ali has been nominated against a vacancy by the President on recommendations of the Government.

Ali’s nomination to Rajya Sabha has left political circles surprised as he was not much into reckoning.

Nomination of Gujjar leader to Rajya Sabha assumed huge political significance at a time when the Gujjar and Pahari communities are at loggerheads on the issue of Scheduled Tribe.


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