North, South and Centre |………the countdown begins

North, South and Centre |………the countdown begins

Though the expected results for the three constituencies ofKashmir  are  well understood but the interesting part willbe  to watch how much erosion PDP hassuffered in its home ground of Anantnag and how much ground  a resurgent PC will gain in North Kashmir'sBaramulla constituency.

The Parliament elections are over and now the country willbe anxiously waiting for the final outcome of this 45 days long exercise on May23rd. At national level though BJP is looking confident that it will regain thepower for next five years as maximum exit polls have also predicted that NDAwill return to power. But the fact remains that exit polls in the past have notproved so accurate and many times final results were  reverse as were predicted in exit polls. Despite exit polls many believe that the NDA may cross 230 mark but willremain well short of 275 halfway mark. It is in this perspective thatopposition parties have launched a massive exercise for formation of an antiBJP front at centre which are led by Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Mr Chanderbabu Naidu.

In J&K things have taken a U-turn since 2014. In 2014BJP and PDP won 3 seats each from J&K. PDP got all three from Kashmir whileas BJP got jammu, Udhampur and Ladakh. But the political landscape in Kashmirvalley has changed altogether after PDP aligned with BJP to form the State Govtwhich has now proved to be suicidal for the party. The party is fighting thebattle of its survival in the area once known as its birthplace and where noother party was in a position to take on it. Though the party presidentMehbooba Mufti has shown utmost  courageand put a brave face  in the mostchallenging circumstances by opting to fight for  Anantnag constituency, but the prospectus ofparty seem bleak and it is expected that the Congress will win this seatcomfortably. However in this constituency it will be interesting to watch  will the PDP be able to retain slot numbertwo or it will be pushed down further to the third rank by NC candidateHasnanin Masoodi . Srinagar is a foregone conclusion and NC will wrest thisseat without any difficulty as the party does not face any formidable challengefrom any other party in this constituency. In Baramulla though NC will be thefront runner but it will be interesting to watch the performance of SajadLone's Peoples conference which is likely to take the No 2 spot in thisconstituency. The emergence of PC as a major political force in Baramulla willbe of utmost significance in the next assembly elections and thus it may not bea cakewalk for NC in assembly elections if held in Oct-Nov as it was seenearlier during winter when PDP was losing not only  its popular leaders but its mass appeal too.To rope in a number of leaders from various sections of society , PC's SajadLone has adopted the same strategy which was once adopted by late Mufti Sayeedto take on NC. Thus within 6-7 months , Sajad lone has made PC a majorpolitical force in North Kashmir . PDP which had won this seat in 2014 byfielding its veteran leader Muzaffar Hussain Baig may be pushed to spot no 3 oreven 4 this time as its candidate has neither any experience not any masssupport as PDP's  is in shambles and itwill take the party several years  toregroup and take the lead  again in thisconstituency. The  impact of Dr ShahFaisal on young voters will also be interesting factor to watch who hassupported  Er Rashid from thisconstituency. If Er Rashid sets at Spot 3 and pushes PDP to spot 4 , it will bea significant development.

In Jammu the BJP has its edge though the margin of winingwill be lesser this time. In Udhampur the results are unpredictable  as in comparison to 2014 , a lot moredevelopments have taken place this time. The nomination of Vikram AdityaSingh  who is son of veteran congressleader Dr Karan Singh as congress candidate will give him access to Rajputvotes in the constituency  as well whileas the candidature of Lal Singh, who is seen as a proxy of Dr Karan Singh maydo a lot more damage to BJP's nationalist and communal vote bank. The absenceof NC and PDP from the political scene this time also gives some edge tocongress. Panthers party will take away a good vote chunk in this constituencywhich has fielded Harsh Dev Singh. Further the other issues the BJP is facingat National level will also contribute in decline of its vote share incomparison to what it got in 2014.Thus it seems a neck to neck fight betweenBJP and congress and  it can go eitherway.

In Ladakh Parliamentary Constituency , which BJP  had won by a narrow margin of 36 votes in2014 but has failed to make any significant inroads thereafter. The firstsetback to BJP came after the resignation of the sitting MP Thupstan Chhewangin November 2018 over the party's "unfulfilled promises" and "betrayal". Thesecond setback to the BJP came to the fore when the party failed to even grab asingle seat in Kargil and Leh civic body polls in October 2018. While Congressgrabbed all the 13 seats in Leh and 6 seats in Kargil. In  Ladakh parliamentary constituency  , which has only  about 1,71000  voters, situation  is not clear yet as both the vote banks ofBuddhist  majority Leh and MuslimMajority Kargil remain divided. It may go to independent candidate SajadHussain  supported by  islamia school  if Kargil has voted en-mass for him but can also go to congress if Leh has voteden-mass for congress. In this constituency both Leh & Kargil face sameproblem as Buddhist  votes are dividedbetween BJP & congress as both of them belong to Leh while as Muslim votesare divided between Sajad Hussain & Asgar Karbalaie who is supported byImam Khomanie Memorial trust.

As Kashmir will be watching the results of North , South& central Kashmir  Kashmir , theentire country will also be watching how a dominant South India  will re-group with various parties of Northand other regions  to  stop BJP  from forming a government atthe centre.

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