Lok Sabha polls 2014: Congress-National Conference alliance likely to win from Jammu and Kashmir

by
Sushmita Dutta

The political scenario in Jammu and Kashmir has been volatile for quite a long time - issues like civil rights, alleged excesses by the Army, the issue of Article 370, Kashmiri Pandits and the separatists movement have kept the state on tenterhooks since early 1990s.

The National Conference is in alliance with the Congress and remains firmly with the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) at the national level.

Interestingly, Omar Abdullah’s uncle and General Secretary of the NC has hinted that if Modi becomes Prime Minister after next General Elections, NC would develop ‘harmonious’ relationship with him. 

In other words, National Conference might be willing to support the BJP which is likely to form the government bagging 274-286 seats.  

However, Jammu and Kashmir might be a brighter prospect for Congress. According to the The Times Now exit polls Congress could gain 5 seats whereas BJP will get only 1 seat in the valley.

In 2009, the National Conference had won three seats (in Baramulla, Anantnag and Srinagar) whereas Congress had won two seats (in Udhampur and Jammu) and independent had won 1 seat in Ladakh.

The other important player is Mufti Mohammed Sayeed’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The party would be hoping to break into the NC-Congress vote bank in the valley. 

The BJP on the other hand will hope for the Modi magic to work in the Jammu region.  A five phase voting successfully concluded in the valley despite attempts by the extremists to disrupt the polls. A decent 50% voter-turnout was recorded in the state.

Six parliamentary seats have been into polls in the five phases announced by the Election Commission. The six seats are Baramulla, Srinagar, Anantnag, Ladakh, Udhampur and Jammu. 

Srinagar parliamentary seat is a matter of prestige for the National Conference. Omar Abdullah, the present CM of J&K, was Member of Parliament three times from Srinagar.

After him this seat was won by his father Farooq Abdullah. National Conference is believed to have complete control over the Srinagar seat. Farooq Abdullah, who is a minister in the UPA government, has already said that he will continue to fight till he lives from this seat. 

Jammu has been won by the Congress for eight times and currently holds the seat. Jammu is the largest among the six Lok Sabha constituencies with almost 1.8 lakh voters. The BJP has claimed the seat thrice and hopes to win this time riding on the NaMo wave. 

Sitting MP Madan Lal Sharma of the Congress will be challenged by state BJP chief Jugal Kishore. 

Congress heavyweight Ghulam Nabi Azad might take up the fight from the Udhampur seat.


First Published: Sunday, March 30, 2014, 02:28
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