BJP’s mission 44 fell short of the mark by 19 seats as polls results of the 87-strong Jammu and Kashmir assembly were declared on Tuesday. Winning all its 25 seats in Jammu region, the party in a sense couldn’t cross the Jawahar Tunnel and drew a blank in Kashmir.
The BJP gave tickets to 25 Muslims in the valley and fielded Kashmiri pandits. But, of the 30,364 pandit voters, only 5,169 voted. Hoping to win over Kashmir, it had even dropped abrogation of Article 370, which gives special status to J-K, from its agenda. That did not help.
In the valley, the BJP is seen essentially as its parent body RSS, which is identified with Hindu majoritarianism. RSS leader Indresh Kumar, a week before the first phase of the elections, said that 2014 gave an opportunity to “get back lost Kashmir”. This and other long-held fears ensured that the PDP emerged as the opposite number to the saffron party. Even the incumbent National Conference used Article 370 to beat the BJP in Kashmir.
This comes even as PM Modi in his rallies didn’t touch Article 370, though he did not say the special status would either. It must be noted, however, that the BJP also won in Muslim-majority areas of Doda and Rajouri, where Hindus have a sizeable population.
The PM addressed his first rally in Kishtwar, which witnessed communal riots this year on Eid; here the BJP won as the Muslim votes split between the NC and PDP.
(Inputs by HTC, Srinagar)