After the Election Commission’s announcement for polling in Jammu and Kashmir from November 25 to December 20, political parties in the state have stepped up their preparations. Besides the flood devastation, the voters would have to brave cold to cast their ballot.
While the opposition BJP and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is already geared up for the polls, National Conference (NC) which had vehemently asked for deferment also reluctantly conceded.
Meanwhile, PDP, confident from their Lok Sabha sweep of all three seats in Kashmir division welcomed the poll panel’s decision. “We feel that post floods people will vote in large numbers as they want the government out which let them down in the time of need,’’ said PDP spokesperson Nayeem Akhtar.
The BJP too, has been working towards winning the state assembly elections and is hopeful of a better performance in Jammu and Bhuddist dominated Ladakh.
However, the Valley is priority in its mission to win 44 seats —the number to have an all BJP government in India’s only majority Muslim state.
“Our mission 44 is incomplete without Kashmir we are hopeful that we will get 10 seats as besides being tired of the corruption in the previous government, people also know that a BJP government will help them out of the crises post flood ,’’ Altaf Thakur, BJP spokesperson in Srinagar said.
“NC has been the face of the government. So they are likely to face the wrath,’’ said Prof Gul Wani, HOD, political science, University of Kashmir. Wani added that the fact Congress chose to differ from NC on election dates was to keep their options open with PDP.
The state election commission reiterated that the recent floods would not impact elections in the Kashmir valley. “Only 99 polling stations need relocation according to the concerned officials. If need be we will take more such steps,” said chief electoral officer Umang Narula.
In a five-phase election, 87 assembly seats are going to polls and about 72,25,559 electorate are likely to exercise their right to vote.