BJP goes vocal for local parties in Kashmir, shuns dynasties

 - Sakshi Post

Srinagar, April 21 (IANS) The BJP has decided not to field its candidates for the three Lok Sabha seats in the Kashmir division of J&K -- Anantnag-Rajouri, Srinagar and Baramulla, and instead will support the local non-dynasty parties.

One of these seats, Anantnag-Rajouri has voting segments both in the Kashmir and the Jammu divisions. Anantnag and Kulgam districts of the Valley and Poonch and Rajouri districts of Jammu division form the voting segments of this Lok Sabha constituency.

The BJP has large support in Poonch and Rajouri districts even though the National Conference (NC) has fielded its trump card, the senior political and religious Gujjar/Bakarwal leader, Mian Altaf Ahmad from here.

There are over eight lakh voters in Poonch and Rajouri districts and 3.40 lakh of these voters are from the Pahari community. Paharis were given the ST status by the BJP-led Central government thereby fulfilling the community’s 70-year-old demand.

This community forms a huge vote bank in the Anantnag-Rajouri constituency. In addition, there are Gujjar/Bakarwal and Hindu voters in Rajouri and Poonch districts.

The BJP J&K president, Ravinder Raina belongs to Lamberi village of the Nowshera area of Rajouri district and he won the Assembly election from the Nowshera seat in 2015.

Raina has appreciable political influence in Nowshera and other places in Rajouri and Poonch districts. He worked hard in his constituency after leaving his high-paying job in the merchant navy. He is a post-graduate in international law.

BJP has a presence in Anantnag and Kulgam districts as well although in these districts the party may not match the large presence of the NC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) supporters.

Despite its chances to put up a fight against the Valley-centric NC and the PDP, the BJP did not field its candidate in this constituency.

Mehbooba Mufti of the PDP jumped into the electoral fray in the Anantnag-Rajouri constituency after being snubbed by NC vice president, Omar Abdullah.

Mehbooba’s presence will chip into the Kashmiri-speaking voters whom the NC expected to vote for it

J&K Apni Party headed by Syed Altaf Bukhari has fielded Zafar Iqbal Manhas from this constituency. Manhas belongs to the Pahari community and hails from the Shopian district.

Apni Party expects to get a Pahari vote share from the Poonch and Rajouri districts. The BJP is most likely going to support the Apni Party in Anantnag-Rajouri and Srinagar constituencies.

Ashraf Mir has been fielded by Apni Party against Syed Ruhullah Mehdi of the NC and Waheed Para of the PDP in Srinagar.

Sajad Gani Lone of the People’s Conference (PC) is fighting against Omar Abdullah of the NC and Fayaz Mir of the PDP in the Baramulla constituency.

He is most likely to be supported by the BJP cadre in the constituency. Sajad Lone has also sought support from the Apni Party to consolidate what he calls the anti-NC vote.

Sajad Lone has logic in what he says because the NC has won the Baramulla Lok Sabha seat 10 times in the past although its vote share was much less than that taken by its opponents in divided numbers.

He intends to consolidate the anti-NC vote so that this vote is converted into victory for those who opposed NC during the last 10 elections but could not win because they did not stand united.

Apni Party is sure to support Sajad Lone in the Baramulla constituency and the former will not field any candidate against him in this constituency.

Whether the anti-NC vote that remained divided during the last 10 elections gets consolidated to result in upsetting its apple cart in Baramulla remains to be watched.

In the Srinagar constituency, the NC has fielded a Shia Muslim candidate, Syed Ruhullah Mehdi who belongs to the Budgam district.

The majority of voters in the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat are Sunni Muslims and given the history of voters in this constituency, the Sunni voter has always supported a Sunni candidate.

The NC has a large presence in most of the voting segments in this constituency and the party expects that its supporters will vote for Ruhullah Mehdi.

The BJP is most likely to support Ashraf Mir of the Apni Party in the Srinagar constituency. Syed Altaf Bukhari has expressed confidence that the voter of 2024 is not driven by hollow slogans and promises.

Bukhari says he believes in politics of achievable objectives. He told the media on Saturday that he supports the PM and has no hesitation in admitting it.

He said when the BJP made Omar Abdullah a minister in its cabinet, why didn’t the NC speak of the BJP being bad at that time?

He said the Shiv Sena has recently pledged support to the NC and the PDP. And Shiv Sena has suddenly become a good political party for the NC and the PDP, he added.

Bukhari claimed that he is an Indian who does not believe in hidden nationalism or semi-separatist politics.

He said that he is seeking votes for statehood, land rights, employment, education, tourism, healthcare and other things that are achievable.

“I am not asking voters like my opponents to give me a bicycle by promising them that I will carry the voter to the moon on a bicycle,” he said.

Whether pragmatism, achievable promises and BJP support can enthuse voters in Srinagar and Baramulla or whether they will vote for the NC and the PDP to keep distances alive between Srinagar and Delhi needs to be watched.

Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by the Sakshi Post team and is auto-generated from syndicated feed.

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