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SEEMA MUSTAFA | 23 DECEMBER, 2014

KASHMIRIS VOTE FOR A STRONG OPPOSITION, BJP FAILS IN ITS MISSION

Well we did what we had to!!


NEW DELHI: The Jammu and Kashmir voters have done tremendous service to their state. The Bharatiya Janata party has been virtually confined to the Jammu region, and has not managed to get a single seat in the Kashmir Valley. At the same time while the Peoples Democratic party has done well, it has also fallen short of its expectations, with the National Conference and Congress party defying all predictions and remaining with their heads above the waters.

In the process no matter who forms the government with the BJP representing just part of Jammu, the state will continue to have a strong Opposition that is more representative of the entire state having pulled in seats from Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.

The BJP has fallen far short of its Mission 44+ in a major defeat where the communal polarisation being attempted in Jammu including the Chenab Valley not having worked to the extent the party and its front organisations operating in the region had hoped. The high voting in the Kashmir Valley effectively ensured that the BJP, with its campaign for the abrogation of Article 370, was not able to open its account there.

The BJP’s failure is clearly due to the losing magic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who had swept the Assembly segments during the Lok Sabha elections; BJP president Amit Shah who has been campaigning in the state, and RSS leader now with the BJP Ram Madhav who had been focusing on the Kashmir Valley. Despite the determined efforts the party was not given the mandate to come to power with an absolute majority, not even close to it.

The PDP has more to worry about too as despite the anti- incumbency factor it was not able to sweep the Valley, and has not done particularly well in Ladakh and Jammu. PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed does not inspire the kind of confidence in the state as the party had hoped, and the low vote is clearly due to a certain wariness in both the Valley and in Jammu about the PDP’s trajectory. Despite not saying so it has remained close to the BJP, and clearly talks are on for forming the government in alliance in the state. This is not going to auger very well for the PDP as it will find itself in a tug of war with the BJP at the centre, on almost all issues of import. More so as the PDP will be focused on the concerns of its majority of voters from the Valley while the BJP will be addressing its constituencies concerns in Jammu.

In fact the National Conference and the Congress have emerged relatively unscathed from the elections with sufficient seats to form an effective and vocal Opposition in the Assembly. The elections are really an historic opportunity for these two political parties---if they do not mess it up---to revive their standing in the state, and link their present and future to the people. Perhaps chief minister Omar Abdullah who has not been decimated will find it easier to bond with the people and to address their concerns as an Opposition leader, more so as he can seriously take up the issues he has been articulating lately---the abrogation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and not of Article 370.

(Watch this space for more reports and analysis)

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