Most of the major political parties have ended their high-profile campaigning for the first phase of assembly elections, due to begin on November 25.
Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, and Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, were the star campaigners among a battery of national and regional leaders putting in their last efforts to woo voters before the ballot is cast.
Bharatiya Janta Party
BJP, which in the past did not put in much effort for the J&K elections, has this time around launched ‘Mission 44+’ - an ambitious plan to form the first BJP-led government here.
The BJP’s star campaigner, Narendra Modi, addressed a massive public rally in Kishtwar on Saturday. Earlier, BJP president, Amit Shah on Friday held a couple of rallies in Ramban and Banihal areas. On November 20, Home Minister Rajnath Singh also staged a public rally in Padder, Kishtwar and Leh. Few days ago, senior BJP leader, Shanawaz Hussain also held public rallies in Doda region.
The BJP campaign revolved around development, which is to make J&K a model state with equal treatment to all the three regions; Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. The party castigated both NC and PDP for pursuing dynastic politics and promoting corruption.
The BJP also promised people to eradicate unemployment besides granting citizenship rights to West-Pakistan refugees. However the party has not raised the issue of abrogation of Article 370 which grants special status to J&K with the Union of India.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi held two rallies on Saturday; one in Bandipore in Kashmir and Chanderkote in Ramban.
In the past fortnight, leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad has held more than 30 public meetings in his hometown Doda region.
In-charge J&K affairs, Ambika Sonia accompanied Azad in many meetings in Jammu region and also remained with the state party chief, Saifudin Soz during election meetings in Kashmir Valley.
The Congress campaign was pegged around welfare initiatives launched by the Congress-led UPA government when it was in power. The Congress has blamed its coalition partner NC for creating hurdles in implementing the food scheme in J&K.
With party patron Farooq Abdullah ill, chief minister Omar Abdullah has campaigned extensively in all the three regions of the state.
He spoke about his party’s stand for phased withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) which provides impunity to the army.
The NC wants credit for creating new administrative units in the state. The party has accused BJP of playing divisive politics and asked it to come clean on the issue of Article 370.
Peoples Democratic Party
Led by patron, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, and its president Mehbooba Mufti, PDP too held a number of elections in all the three regions of J&K.
They highlighted the achievements made by the PDP during its three years tenure when it ruled in coalition with the Congress until 2008.
PDP also demanded addressing Kashmir issue at political, diplomatic, constitutional and economic levels.