Rise in voter enrolments may blunt BJP prospects in J-K

  • Peerzada Ashiq, Hindustan Times, Srinagar
  • Updated: Nov 18, 2014 00:39 IST

The BJP's target of winning over 44 seats in the Jammu and Kashmir polls beginning this month will prove to be a stiff one with an unexpected upswing in voter registration and voting percentage in key pro-separatist constituencies of the Valley, analysts said.

Two decades of militancy have alienated sections of Kashmir's population from mainstream politics with 47% eligible voters registering themselves with Election Commission.

The lowest electorate-population (EP) ratio is in Kupwara district where 3, 78,987 voters have enrolled with 9,51,545 people eligible to vote, according to the poll panel's data. "Analysis shows nearly all districts in Kashmir have low EP ratios, whereas Jammu shows highest EP Ratio of 0.62," says an EC report.

The Valley's pro-separatist constituencies are showing an escalation in the EP Ratio and voter turnout. This is bound to blunt the BJP's prospects in Kashmir which has 46 of state's 87 assembly seats.

The population is 70% Muslim, analysts said. Cases in point are north Kashmir's Sopore - hometown of Syed Ali Geelani, chairman of separatist group Hurriyat's hardline faction - and south Kashmir's Tral constituency, home to a significant number of active and former militants.

Registered voters in Sopore have gone up from 90,226 in 2008 to 1,03,777 voters in 2014 while voting percentage went up from 8.09% in 2002 state polls to 19.96% in 2008.

The voting percentage in Tral, which has a miniscule Pandit population, was 11.5% in 2002, but rose to 48.69% in 2008.

BJP is trying to make inroads by fielding Kashmiri Muslims and Pandits. It hopes that if the polling percentage of Muslims remains low following an election boycott call, Kashmiri Pandits can help BJP get close to majority mark.


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