Not all is over for the Congress in Jammu and Kashmir as the party has managed to win 12 seats and stood second in 19 constituencies across the state.
Of the 12 seats won by the Congress, five are from the Jammu province, four from the Kashmir valley and three from Ladakh, making it a party that has some presence in all the three regions of the state.
This is in sharp contrast to the BJP which won all its 25 seats from the Jammu region only. The Congress lost seats like Gurez to the National Conference (NC) by 141 votes and Dooru to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by 163 votes. The party also gave a scare to outgoing chief minister Omar Abdullah from Beerwah as its candidate Nazir Ahmed Khan was leading in many rounds and eventually lost by 910 votes.
Such a situation, political analysts suggested, arose only because the NC abdicated its political space in these constituencies and the Congress promptly grabbed it.
While the Congress won Devsar, Shangus, Bandipora and Sopore from the Kashmir valley, its good performance in Ladakh region has even surprised the state BJP which had won the lone Lok Sabha seat in this summer’s elections. Congress leaders feel the party would have gained more had it withdrawn from the NC-led coalition government ahead of the assembly elections.
“There was a clear anti-incumbency against Omar Abdullah and this hit us badly in Jammu region. We faced the ire of voters in many parts of the Kashmir valley mainly because the government’s failure to rise to the occasion in the wake of devastating floods in September this year,” a senior Congress leader said.