- Salman Ravi
- BBC correspondent
If one political party has been the biggest loser in the election of District Development Council in Jammu and Kashmir, it is the Congress which could win only 26 seats out of 280 seats.
The Congress, once a strong political force in Jammu and Kashmir, did not expect itself to perform so badly.
According to party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi, the performance of the Congress was below expectations. He gave a big reason for this, that the Congress was stuck between different issues of Jammu and Kashmir Valley.
Talking to BBC, Yogesh Sahni, senior Congress leader of the state, who had been a minister in previous governments, admitted that his party was not ready for these elections. This is the reason that neither they got the opportunity to join any alliance nor did they get the opportunity to field candidates properly.
He says, “The BJP came into the fray with complete preparation. They knew when to do it. It all happened to us all of a sudden. Yet we did not go with any coalition and contested on our own. But the BJP contested the elections in the district development council in the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Jammu and Kashmir Congress Committee spokesperson Ravinder Sharma claimed that BJP got seats in only five of the 20 districts.
Although the Bharatiya Janata Party has emerged as the largest political party in the district development council elections, the party’s performance has also been better than before. But experts say that the BJP, which claimed to have succeeded in making its place in the Kashmir Valley, has suffered a loss in its old stronghold, the area of Jammu.
Experts say that in the 2014 assembly elections, BJP won 25 out of 37 seats in Jammu region. That means he got two-thirds of the seats. This time in the District Development Council elections, BJP won 71 out of 140 seats, which is just one seat more than fifty percent. The three areas where the party was very confident of winning, did not achieve that much success there. These areas are Doda, Ramban and Rajouri.
Lessons for BJP and Congress
Sunil Pandita, who is working among Kashmiri Pandits in Jammu, says that in this election, people have taught a lesson to both the major parties i.e. BJP and Congress. He accused the BJP of not working, whereas he now considers the Congress party to be irrelevant in the politics of Jammu and Kashmir.
Speaking to the BBC, senior BJP leader Kavinder Gupta, who was the former Deputy Chief Minister, said that his party could have done even better. He says that in many seats, the party supported some independents. Therefore, it should not be said that BJP’s performance was not good.
He says, “Now what can be bigger than this? No one could have imagined that the BJP could ever win in the Kashmir Valley. This is the first time that the BJP is the largest political party in the politics of Jammu and Kashmir. Has emerged. “
But social activist Tarun Uppal says that these elections should not be compared to any elections because the elections to the District Development Council were held for the first time in Jammu and Kashmir. They say that these elections should not be compared with previous elections in the Legislative Assembly nor with the Lok Sabha elections.
He says that the election of the District Development Council has been a new experience for all.
However, one thing that was unexpected in the district development council elections is the alliance of parties like National Conference, People’s Democratic Party, Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference and other political powers like Communist Party of Marxist and Communist Party of India. He has named it ‘People’s Alliance for Gupt Declaration’. This alliance has won 109 out of 280 seats.
Although independent candidates performed well in the elections this time, the voter turnout in the valley was less than in Jammu region.
According to Kamal Haak of Panun Kashmir Organization, elections were a huge achievement in such an environment and people’s participation in them has also opened the way to expectations.
Panun Kashmir is an organization of displaced Hindus of the state.
After the elections of District Development Council, there is going to be a churn in all political parties because the future of J&K politics will be decided on the basis of the results of this election.