Pulwama, Shopian hold the key

Pulwama, Shopian hold the key
Representational Photo

National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party, and theCongress are trying their best to motivate the voters ahead of final phase ofpolling on 6 May in Shopian and Pulwama districts in south Kashmir's Anantnagparliamentary constituency.

Media reports suggest that these two districts hold the keyand the voters in Pulwama and Shopian would decide the winner among PDP chiefMehbooba Mufti, NC's Justice (retd) Hasnain Masoodi, and the Jammu and KashmirPradesh Congress Committee chief Ghulam Ahmed Mir.

Anantnag and Kulgam districts, where the polling has alreadybeen held, witnessed a low turnout. People staying away from the polling boothshave sent alarm bells ringing in the camps of all the political parties. It'stoo early to predict who would win but one thing is for sure that the AnantnagParliamentary constituency could throw a surprise.

The PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti is contesting her seventhelection from south Kashmir. Till date she has never faced defeat. But thistime around nothing much can be said as the PDP also seems unsure. NationalConference and Congress are claiming that their candidates are well ahead ofthe PDP but claims don't matter; results would speak. 

The ongoing Lok Sabha polls are important for the NC and PDPas the results of these elections would indicate where these parties stand. Itlooks like that both PDP and NC have confined their activities to Kashmir onlyand have left Jammu region open for the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party. Isit that NC and PDP leaders have started believing that their chances in Jammuare bleak as people don't support them? Or is it that the BJP has occupied theentire space in the region?

During the past five years the political landscape of Jammuand Kashmir has changed at a rapid pace. There was a time when New Delhicouldn't even imagine about forming a government in Jammu and Kashmir withoutthe support of traditional political families in the state. Today the peoplesitting in the national capital seem least interested in providing any space tothese parties. Since the day PDP-BJP government has fallen in the state newfaces have surfaced and they are threatening the traditional parties to thecore.

In November last year the NC, PDP and Congress came togetherand tried to form a government in the state. Peoples Conference chairman, SajadGani Lone, also put forth his claim but the Jammu and Kashmir Governor, SatyaPal Malik, dissolved the Assembly. The Governor Malik did not entertain any ofthem and stated that had he not dissolved the Assembly it could have led to"horse trading."Today NC, Congress and PDP are fightingelections against each other and are leaving no opportunity to score browniepoints over one another. Politics in Kashmir has turned out to be a strangegame. In 2014 PDP won all the three Parliamentary seats in Kashmir and itsentire campaign revolved around keeping BJP at bay. But the fractured mandatein the Assembly elections, which were held in the same year, led to PDPchanging the sides quickly. The same party which wanted to keep BJP away fromKashmir entered

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