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BJP demands democratization of Shrine Board

Reacting sharply to the statement of NC Provincial President & MLA Nagrota, Devinder Singh Rana, as purely malicious and full of propaganda, BJP State Spokesperson Brig. Anil Gupta said that the BJP is only demanding that MLA Reasi should be included in the Shrine Board and MLA can be any from any political party in a democracy. It so happens that the sitting MLA belongs to BJP and could be from any other party in future if the people desire so.
Brig. Gupta said that 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. 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 according to Brig Anil Gupta, state spokesperson of Bharatiya Janata Party. 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.
The present composition of the Shrine Board does not cater for local representation. The members of the Shrine Board are nominated by the Honourable Governor without giving any representation to the local people. The criteria for nomination is also not known and hence smacks of favouritism and monopolization resulting in the neglect of local interests alleged Brig Anil Gupta. 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 democratize 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.
BJP is of the opinion that Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine board should be reconstituted to include the MP, local MLA, 1-2 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.