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HindustanTimes Fri,26 Dec 2014

PDP, BJP on firmer grounds now

Srinagar, Hindustan Times  Peerzada Ashiq, July 27, 2014
First Published: 01:06 IST(27/7/2014) | Last Updated: 01:09 IST(27/7/2014)

The political scene in Jammu and Kashmir has gone through a tectonic shift post the Lok Sabha polls, estranging allies Congress and National Conference (NC) and pitting the otherwise friendly Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) against the BJP.

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Having won three Parliament seats each, BJP and PDP have emerged as the formidable forces ahead of the assembly elections with NC and Congress lagging far behind.

But they may not reach the magical number of 44 seats (out of 87).

From 21 seats in 2008, PDP, headed by Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, led from 41 assembly segments in the Lok Sabha polls.

It stood strong in southern Kashmir as well as Poonch and Rajouri in Jammu region while defeating NC president Farooq Abdullah in his bastion Srinagar.
The PDP has kept option of post-poll alliance with Congress open.

The regional party-dependent Congress has 17 seats in the assembly but led from only 10 in the parliamentary polls.

The BJP, on the other hand, led from 27 segments, a jump from 11 seats it represents.

This has encouraged the party headed by Jughal Kishore Sharma to contest all 87 seats. It hopes to get a few independent Valley MLAs on board too besides gaining from boycott calls by separatists.

Smarting from the Lok Sabha defeat, NC headed by chief minister Omar Abdullah hopes to regain lost ground with a slew of populist measures.

But it faces strong anti-incumbency fuelled by poor governance, corruption, killing of civilians in street protests and the hanging of Afzal Guru.


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