Rise Of PDP, BJP Game-changer In J&K Politics

22 December 2014
Rising Kashmir
Ishfaq Naseem

Srinagar: The election results that will be declared on Monday will determine the outcome of the intra-regional contest unlike the past elections when the contests were fought on inter-regional lines between the parties. With PDP hoping that the party will gain on its 2008 tally of 21 seats, increase in number of seats will come at the cost of the seats held by National Conference. The increase or decline in the number of seats held by BJP will have a direct bearing on the results of Congress as in the Hindu majority areas the fight has been primarily between the two parties. The elections upto 1987 have been mainly fought on regional lines between NC and Congress. Earlier, the elections were fought on inter-regional lines between the parties. However, formation of PDP in 1998 and rise of BJP after the 2008 Amarnath land transfer agitation has changed the electoral politics of the state. Since 2002 the elections have been fought on intra-regional lines and the trend continues to remain the same in the 2014 elections. PDP contested in 2002 and won 16 seats. The maximum number of seats (6) was won by the party in Anantang district, 4 in Pulwama, 2 in Budgam, 3 in Baramulla and 1 in Srinagar. The PDP won the seats at the expense of the seats retained by NC after 1996 elections. NC had won 40 seats from Kashmir in 1996 elections, but in 2002 elections the party's seat tally from Kashmir was reduced to 18 out of the total 28 seats it secured in the state. In the 2008 elections, PDP increased its seats tally to 21 while as NC retained 28 seats. However, in earlier elections the contest had been largely between NC and Congress on regional lines. In the elections of 1977, 1983 and 1987, NC won 39, 38 and 32 seats respectively from Kashmir region while as it had bagged only 8 seats in each of these elections from Jammu and Ladakh. However, out of the total seats of 11, 25 and 26 in 1977, 1983 and 1987 elections, Congress had won 10, 22 and 20 seats from the Jammu region. BJP and the Bhartiya Jana Sangh drew blank from Jammu region in 1977 and 1983 elections and won only 2 seats in 1987 elections. Jammu continued to remain the stronghold of the Congress, despite the pre-poll alliance between NC and Congress in the 1987 elections which were considered to be widely rigged.