J-K polls: PDP may be biggest gainer, but BJP could play the kingmaker | india | Hindustan Times
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J-K polls: PDP may be biggest gainer, but BJP could play the kingmaker

The Bharatiya Janata Party is hoping to ride the Narendra Modi wave to make inroads into Jammu and Kashmir as the state goes to the polls on Tuesday, but the People’s Democratic Party could emerge as the biggest gainer, say analysts.

india Updated: Nov 25, 2014 10:47 IST
Toufiq Rashid
PDP-s-patron-Mufti-Mohmmad-Sayeed-with-his-daughter-Mehbooba-Mufti
PDP-s-patron-Mufti-Mohmmad-Sayeed-with-his-daughter-Mehbooba-Mufti

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is hoping to ride the Narendra Modi wave to make inroads into Jammu and Kashmir as the state goes to the polls on Tuesday, but the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) could emerge as the biggest gainer, say analysts.

The BJP is looking to tap into the people’s anger over the slow rehabilitation of flood-hit Kashmiris as it seeks to expand its support base to the Muslim-majority Valley, where it has no presence, and increase its base in Hindu-dominated Jammu region.

Analysts say the party may not achieve its aim of winning 44 in the 87-member assembly but could emerge as a key player with the ruling National Conference (NC) facing people’s ire after the state’s worst flooding in a century. It can also benefit from the falling out between the NC and Congress, after being in government together for six years.

“If not the largest party, the BJP wants the role of a kingmaker, something the Congress has held for the past 12 years,” said Kashmir University political science professor Gul Wani.

Based on their performances in the general elections, BJP and PDP are likely to be two main players in the assembly poll. The BJP, which was leading in 24 assembly segments in Jammu in the general election, is counting on getting a few more from Pirpanjal and Chenab valley regions this time.

Analysts say even if the party’s calculation of low voter turnouts and consolidation of migrant Pandit votes works in its favour, it may get a few more seats, but will still fall short of a majority.

In such a scenario, the PDP, which led in 41 assembly segments in the Kashmir Valley in the April-May elections, could emerge as the single-largest party in the assembly.