December 27, 2014

MAIDAN-e-JUNG - Part IV

THE RESULTS

The elections to the legislative assembly of Jammu Kashmir have resulted in a hung assembly, yet again; while most parts of the country are voting for stability, the electorate in the northern state continues to remain divided on political lines. As expected, the PDP ended up emerging as the single largest party, closely followed in the second spot by the BJP. The NC managed to prevent a 'wash out' whereas its erstwhile ally, the Congress saw its numbers plummet. Though we did not have a clear winner, the ones who lost were the separatists and their handlers from across the border as people in massive numbers came out to exercise their democratic right.

   Sr.   
          Political Party          
     Seats     
1
People's Democratic Party (PDP)
28
2
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
25
3
National Conference (NC)
15
4
Congress (INC)
12
5
Jammu Kashmir People's Conference (JKPC)
2
6
Communist Party of India - Marxist (CPI-M)
1
7
     Jammu Kashmir People's Democrati Front - Secular (JKPDF-S)     
1
8
Independents
3

With 28 seats, the People's Democratic Party (PDP) managed to emerge as the single largest party in the state. The outfit's chief and former state CM Mufti Mohammed Sayeed won from the constituency of Anantnag for a second consecutive term. Like the BJP in Jharkhand, the PDP needs to analyze as to why it failed to win over 30 seats since there was a strong anti-incumbency against the NC and the Congress which was only amplified by Omar's handling of the flood situation. With the party falling short of a simple majority by 16 seats, it will be interesting to see how it can get the numbers needed to form the next regime in Srinagar. Allying with the Congress will not help; going with the BJP could hit the party's Muslim base in Kashmir whereas taking support of the NC - its traditional rival in the Valley could prove detrimental in the future.

While many may slam the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for its failure in its audacious 'Mission 44+', you have to give it to the saffron outfit for winning a staggering 25 seats in spite of the fact that all these came from Hindu dominated Jammu region. Having secured a whopping 23 percent vote share, the party was the most popular outfit in the state, truly an achievement for the BJP which was considered as a non-entity by many in this part of the country. This also proves that the BJP's exemplary performance in the Lok Sabha polls where it won 3 of the 6 parliamentary seats here was not a fluke. Going forward, the party now needs to expand its base in the Kashmir and the Ladakh region where it could not open its account. Though the party is pushing hard to be in the next government in Kashmir, it will be extremely difficult for either of the two main political parties in the state to enter into a coalition with the BJP considering its tough stance on Article 370 and autonomy to the state. Whether the party eventually forms its first government here or not, what is certain is that it is no longer an insignificant player in Jammu Kashmir.

Former CM Omar Abdullah should be given his share of credit for managing to win 15 seats in the wake of a strong anti-incumbency in the state. Though he may not be the best of administrators as his track record as the CM has proved, what one cannot ignore is that he continues to be an astute politician. The election verdict was a mixed bag for Abdullah junior. On a personal front, he lost from the constituency of Sonwar to PDP's Ashraf Mir while winning from Beerwah. Despite of this, the National Conference (NC) continues to be an important player in the formation of the next regime in Srinagar. As of now, Omar is holding his cards close to his chest. Though he has agreed to support a PDP government just to keep the BJP at bay, insiders say that he has also had meeting with several top saffron leaders.


The fortunes of the Congress continued to slide even further. Having broken off its alliance with the NC, it dropped three seats to finish with a tally of 12 seats. Considering what the poll pundits had predicted, the INC should be happy that it did cross into two digits. Following the results, the party has declared its support to the PDP which emerged as the single largest party with 28 seats. However, the alliance, if formed will still fall short of a majority by 4 seats.

Two candidates of the Jammu Kashmir People's Conference (JKPC) emerged victorious including the outfit's founder and former separatist Sajjad Lone. The JKPC chief has already pledged his support to the BJP. The Communist Party of India - Marxist (CPI-M) and the Jammu Kashmir People's Democratic Front - Secular (JKPDF-S) also won a seat each. Meanwhile, three independent candidates namely Abdul Rashid Sheikh (Langate), Mohammad Baqir Rizvi (Zanskar) and Pawan Kumar Gupta (Udhampur) also emerged victorious.


For all posts related to the Jammu Kashmir State Polls 2014, click here (Link)