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The Paradigm Shift in Politics of Jammu and Kashmir
1/18/2021 12:07:21 AM
Deepak Gupta

The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed it’s first elections after the abrogation of Article 370 on 5th August 2019. The District Development Council Elections in Jammu and Kashmir was no less than a festival, wherein all the parties gave in their full for getting maximum number of seats in their pockets.
BJP wanted to create a Nation-wide picture of people supporting it’s decision to abrogate Article 370 and Article 35A, Dr. Farooq Abdullah led Peoples Alliance of Gupkar Declaration wanted to create a counter narrative for the decision.
Results have shown a mixed response as PAGD got 110 seats in total, BJP got 75 and Congress had to settle for 26, Apni Party got 12 seats, PDF and Panthers Party got two each and BSP got one seat, whereas it was beyond expectations for every political party to absorb 52 independent candidates, also at some places Independent Candidate gave tuff fight to the party candidates.
First, What I observe is that the participation in the democratic process has gradually increased in the valley as well, which usually witnessed low voter turn-out. This participation in the valley has hit in two different directions; Victory for PAGD who wanted to prove BJP wrong that they won’t participate in elections and BJP could win with marginal votes whatsoever. But they failed to understand that BJP wanted to give a hit in another direction that was to “increase participation of people in democratic process”.
Although BJP only got 3 seats in Valley but still a national agenda of BJP to involve people in democratic process has been successful.
So, although PAGD won the valley but BJP also succeeded in its agenda of people participation.
Second, National Conference has proved that it the only party of the state which has presence in both in Jammu and Kashmir. Which has given more power to Abdullahs in Kashmir and Davinder Singh Rana in Jammu as he is being considered as Chanakya of Victory in different seats of Jammu Province.
Third, PDP has suffered a huge loss with senior leader quitting the party and only few leaders left with the party. Mehbooba Mufti has failed altogether to keep party intact and as I can smell PDP will end up merging up with Congress if a positive impetus does not comes in the form of some one from Mufti Family who can successfully take out party from this trench.
Fourth, BJP has managed to secure clean sweep in Kathua, Samba, Jammu, Udhampur, Doda and Reasi, which has strengthen Dr. Jitendra Singh (MOS,PMO) more in the party as an organizational expert, because in the Districts falling under PMO constituency BJP has performed comparatively well than that of Jugal Kishore Sharma (MP Jammu Poonch Lok Sabha) where BJP performed poor, hurting the image of Party President who lost in Home District Rajouri and Jugal Kishore Sharma in the party higher ups. As per reports BJP will change the state leadership in the coming year. Although BJP has managed to make a nation wide statement of winning DDC in Jammu Kashmir, but reality is if we club the votes secured by BJP it can only manage to win 22 Assembly seats in future assembly elections.
Out of 83 assembly seats in Jammu and Kashmir, as per reports the new JK Assembly will have 90 seats, which means an increase in 7 seats from Jammu and Kashmir.
It is very hilarious to hear from every assembly constituency I visit that their constituency is going to get the benefit of delimitation.
Whatever the outcome of Delimitation is going to be it must strengthen Jammu Region because if the outdoes not, result shall be against the party in power. Let us hope for a positive outcome of Delimitation for Jammu Region.
Unlike earlier days , where only few options were available for people to choose amongst thier candidates, today the government has brought in something new for the people of Jammu and Kashmir, three-tier Panchayati Elections.
This has opened new entry points for young leaders to come in and participate in the political process and bring about change in the system with thier new ideas and models of working.
Although BJP managed to win 75, but former Cabinet Minister Sham Lal Choudhary(Suchetgarh) lost, Former MLA Shakti Raj Parihar (Doda) lost, Former BJP MLA Dina Nath Bhagat(Chenani) left the party, Former BJP Minister Sukhnandan Choudhary supported candidate who stood against BJP’s candidate in Marh constituency, BJP managed only 2700 votes Gandhi Nagar adjoining Phallian Mandal seat whereas congress got roughly 7000+ votes in that seat which shows BJP’s loosing ground in Gandhi Nagar assembly as well. So even if BJP is celebrating its thumping victory, the party still has to work on the ground strategies for future Legislative assembly elections, it cannot again and again win on the basis of National Leadership.
Local parties have lost elections in Jammu region which is not a good signal, as the people of Jammu region have not shown thier faith in them, whereas many independent candidates have managed to register thumping victory but this will only promote party anarchism in Jammu region. What I feel is a good opposition gives you strength and over faith on a single party, controlling your minds in the name of National leader, will lead you no where in your local issues. .
This will only make BJP weak if it continues to uproot the leaders already having thier presence in thier respective constituency. It’s a fact you cannot always win, but if they continue to reject thier leaders who have public presence, BJP is seriously going to suffer in coming assembly elections.
Also in Kashmir region for the first time BJP has opened thier account, with thier National Vice President BJYM, winning Srinagar DDC seat. Although having 3 seats out of 140 is not a big number but for BJP this is their entry. Although National Conference and other Kashmir Region party may not treat BJP as a credible opposition in Kashmir but what BJP required in Kashmir was a ray of hope, now with the style of BJP working in new areas, BJP is going to emerge as a challenging opposition in Kashmir region in coming 10 years.
For Congress it is very important to understand they need to work upon thier organization Structure, as they don’t have any single leader who can really connect with people in all 83 assembly constituency, unlike Dr. Farooq Abdullah (NC) and Ravinder Raina(BJP).
Bringing a change in hierarchy of congress is going to uplift congress, or the congress party in Jammu and Kashmir is going to be the days of past.
The party of rich and established leaders, Jammu Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) although trying to create a mark, but was not able to ripe as it thought it could. But 12 seats are no less and also Independent candidate are in touch with senior leadership. Mr. Altaf Bukhari is going to be a good opposition for both Jammu and Kashmir region in future days.
There has been a change in the political scenario of Jammu and Kashmir
A) Higher Voter Participation in Kashmir Region, due to whatever reason but the vote share has gradually increased.
B) Over Faith in One party in Jammu Region.
C) Space for new leadership to step in main stream politics from different entry points like multiple parties, multiple election modes.
D) Development can reach the grass root as multiple public representatives at different levels shall strengthen the democratic set up as well make the Administration more accountable as it shall now have the supervision of the public representatives.
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