Srinagar, Sep 9: With uncertainty still continuing over the exact timing of assembly polls, the political parties are showing reluctance in going into the full election mode.
Their activities at present remain confined to holding party workers' meetings here or occasionally outside Srinagar or in Jammu. There is no effort as of now by them to re-establish a direct contact with common masses or voters on the ground.
There is officially no word yet whether the polls will be held this year or next year.The electoral rolls will be published on November 25. It is to be seen whether elections are possible after that in winter. Some recent media reports had indicated assembly polls next year but the reports were not confirmed by the government. So the uncertainty may continue for some more time till an official announcement on the matter is made.
In view of the uncertainty, the parties are not in a mood to open their election related cards prematurely. Their activities are also limited presently. The re-arrival of Ghulam Nabi Azad had generated some kind of excitement but it's level too is coming down. The former Congress leader is scheduled to address a rally in Srinagar on September 12 during which some leaders and prominent workers from others parties may join him. Immediately after his resignation from Congress, he had announced to launch a national level party with its unit in Jammu and Kashmir. In Jammu he did not mention anything about forming a national level party and gave enough hints that the party will be a regional party when he said the name and flag of the party will be decided by people of Jammu and Kashmir. Presently he is visiting various areas and addressing his loyals, who have deserted Congress and other parties to join him.
It is to be seen how National Conference will deal with Azad factor electorally particularly after the recent statement of party President Dr Farooq Abdullah that they may join hands with the former Congress leader. Azad's re-entry into J&K politics and he forming a new party was not unexpected. The political circles knew about it. Much before his exit from Congress, National Conference provincial party had resolved to go solo in assembly polls and contest on all 90 seats. During its meeting, the party indirectly snubbed PDP by its resolution and by alleging ill-treatment to NC in PAGD.
While Dr Farooq Abdullah later said the decision about forming alliance or not will be taken at election time only. But it seems that NC may announce not to form any alliance with PDP once the polls are announced. PDP on the other hand has tried to show opening of other options for it by welcoming Azad and his new party. Azad has not said openly yet about his strategy about forming alliances but he is giving indirect hints that his party may contest solo. His close confidants too have stated contesting on all the 90 assembly seats." We will contest on all assembly seats and alliance will be formed only after polls," said Taj Mohiu Din.
That will not be a good thing for NC, which already is not happy with the lost ground recovered by PDP to a greater extent,and growing influence of Apni Party, who has faces to win elections and whose President Syed Muhammad Altaf Bukhari has worked very hard during last two years to introduce his new party to common masses. People's Conference too seems better placed compared to last assembly polls and has further consolidated it's position in its strongholds.
BJP has done lot of ground work during last three years in Kashmir. Its leaders have moved from village to village to garner support for their party. It will become known during elections to what extent their efforts have succeeded.