Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Major J-K parties campaign in Baramulla constituency
Poll fervour in two towns of north Kashmir — Tangmarg in Gulmarg and Handwara in Kupwara — in Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency is at an all-time high. People are joining political parties every week which is indicative of a good response towards the upcoming elections.Updated: Mar 27, 2019 14:15 IST
The atmosphere over upcoming Lok Sabha elections across Kashmir has been subdued.
However, two places in north Kashmir — Tangmarg in Gulmarg and Handwara in Kupwara — present a picture in contrast. Poll fervour in these areas of Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency, which is going to polls in the first phase on April 11, is at all time high and people are joining political parties every week, indicative of a good response towards the upcoming elections.
The voters’ turnout in these areas could positively impact the polling percentage in other places, where people even refuse to talk politics and polls.
A bureaucrat-turned-politician, Farooq Shah, who joined the National Conference (NC) recently, on Monday organised a rally for party vice president Omar Abdullah and Baramulla candidate Akbar Lone.
“My aim is to work for my people and the area which has been neglected by previous regimes,’’ he said. Shah, who is likely to contest assembly polls from Gulmarg, is hopeful that his entry into electoral politics would rejuvenate the poll campaign.
Prominent trade union leader Qayoom Wani and businessman Shabir Mir, who belong to Tangmarg village, have joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Wani is now the PDP candidate for Baramulla Lok Sabha seat and Mir is likely to be fielded in assembly elections.
“We will use all our efforts to retain the Baramulla seat and people from my area will vote for the PDP as our candidate is son of the soil. Even our opponents from Tang ra mg and adjacent areas will vote for us,’’ says Mir.
Right from Pattan to Baramulla, the national highway is dotted with posters of NC leaders. NC supporters, carrying their party flags, could also be seen marching in their private vehicles up and down the highway.
On Tuesday, mainstream regional parties, the PDP and the NC, held rallies in Baramulla town amid heightened security. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti and NC vice president Omar Abdullah, besides, attacking each other, also sought votes for their candidates. “The reason for election enthusiasm is that there is less militancy in Gulmarg,” said Ghulam Mohammad Parray of Tangmarg, a contractor, who was present at one of the rallies.
PEOPLE COMING OUT IN LARGE NUMBERS TO ATTEND RALLIES
Abdulah Majeed of Bahrampora, 55, a fruit grower, said people had not seen any major development in the last many years. “This time, they want their issues resolved. So they are coming out in large numbers to attend election rallies,” he said.
Another participant Sonullah, who had come from neighbouring Kamdor village, said more and more people should come to political rallies. “Only then our problems will get addressed,” he added.Handwara, Kupwara and Lolab also saw largely attended rallies of different political parties in the last few days.
Pervaz Majeed, who teaches at the department of media studies in Baramulla Degree College, says north Kashmir had more vibrant political mobilisers and a relatively better security scenario. “Kashmir border areas like Gurez, Uri and Karnah have traditionally been involved in electoral politics,” he said.
“Entry of Sajad Lone into electoral politics has added to the vibrancy of the political landscape in north Kashmir, particularly Kupwara district. And Gulmarg and Tangmarg have been galvanized by a top former bureaucrat and a trade union leader who joined political parties in the past few months,” he added. In Baramulla Lok Sabha seat, comprising 15 assembly segments, 14 candidates are in fray. The main contest is, however, among PDP, NC, Sajjad Lone’s Peoples Conference and former assembly member from Langate engineer Abdul Rashid, who heads the Awami Itihad Party.
Rashid said he wanted to highlight issues related to Kashmir. “I have been highlighting the issues. And if I win, I will get a chance to raise the issues at a place where PM and top politicians sit together,” he added.
First Published: Mar 27, 2019 14:14 IST