Jammu, April 4 (IANS) The 100,000-strong Pakistani refugees here have announced their support to the BJP candidate in what is being seen as a crucial step days before the Lok Sabha polls in Jammu and Kashmir.
Labha Ram Gandhi, leader of the Pakistani refugees’ group, declared late Thursday their support to Jugal Kishore, the Bharatiya Janata Party candidate for the Jammu Lok Sabha seat.
The refugees from Pakistan live in the three districts of Jammu, Samba and Kathua. These refugees arrived in the state during 1947 and the wars of 1965 and 1971 between India and Pakistan.
With over 40,000 voters, these refugees are seen as game changers in the polls.
BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, who addressed a rally in Hira Nagar town of Kathua district March 26, promised all citizenship rights to these refugees if the BJP comes to power.
The refugees have voting rights for the parliamentary elections, but cannot vote for the state assembly elections.
They cannot apply for government jobs, cannot either buy property or claim other citizenship rights, for which they have been fighting since they migrated.
Jammu and Kashmir has a constitution of its own which runs concomitantly with the country’s constitution.
The main contest in Jammu Lok Sabha constgituency is between the Congress candidate Madan Lal Sharma, who is seeking re-election, the BJP’s Jugal Kishore and Peoples Democratic Party candidate Yashpal Sharma.
The constituency goes to vote April 10.