'Uninterested' KPs May Spoil BJP's Mission Kashmir

13 December 2014
The Hindustan Times
Tarun Upadhyay

Jammu: BJP's ambitious plan to win at least one seat in the Muslim-majority Valley as part of its 'Mission 44+' in Jammu and Kashmir has a dampener. Only 40 percent Kashmiri Pandits (KPs) have registered themselves as voters. Members of the Pandit community migrated in droves to Jammu and other parts of the country after insurgency started in the early nineties. But they still figure on polling lists and have to fill the 'M-form' which enables them to take part in the vote. Sixteen constituencies of the Valley going to polls in the fourth phase on December 14 have 52898 Kashmiri Pandit votes. But only 20955 Pandits have filled up the M-Form. In the Valley, the BJP is particularly eyeing Habbakadal and Amirakadal seats in Srinagar, both of which have significant migrant votes. These two constituencies have shown less interest in voting as there is a strong poll-boycott sentiment here. It's in this context that even a miniscule Pandit vote became important for BJP. But out of 16271 KP votes in Habbakadal only 4720 migrants have filled up the M-form. The BJP has given ticket to Moti Lal Koul here. Similarly, in Amirakadal, only 1329 KPs have filled up their forms out of 4560 eligible Pandit voters. In the Amirkadal constituency the BJP has fielded Hina Bhat, seen as face of the party in the Valley. Moti Lal Kaul, the Habbakadal candidate has accused the administration of not entertaining 'duly-filled' election forms. 'It seems a deliberate attempt to stop KPs from voting,' he said.