Kashmir: Why Modi’s BJP is not fighting elections in the Himalayan region

Kashmir: Why Modi's BJP is not fighting elections in the Himalayan region
Security is being beefed up ahead of PM Narendra Modi's visit to Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India, on March 6, 2024. Army, CRPF, and JK Police personnel are being deployed. Thousands of BJP flags are being installed in the city.Getty Images

The Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP), which has been in power for more than four years, has decided to boycott the region’s general election this year.

Social analysts and opposition leaders claim that the group’s acknowledgment of the walk and its anger in the region suggests this.

For decades, Kashmir and Delhi have had strained relations. Over the past three years, an rebellion against Indian rule and military actions against it have claimed the lives of thousands in the Himalayan area.

In 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration divided Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir into two officially administered regions, revoking nearly all of Article 370, which had significantly granted the place its independence under the Indian Constitution.

Additionally, the government imposed a tight contact ban and put in months-long jailbreaks for hundreds of social leaders, including three former chief ministers.

Since then, Mr Modi and his officials have repeatedly championed the 2019 selection, claiming that it has brought tranquility to the area.

Local Republican leaders have also made significant efforts over the past few years to grow their base in Kashmir through door-to-door campaigns.

Some people have not been aware of the group’s decision to support the upcoming general election, which is the first in the area since Article 370 was removed. ( The BJP has candidates for two of Jammu’s three seats with Muslim-majority in Jammu. )

The BJP’s key director in Jammu and Kashmir asserts that their top priority is to “win the hearts of the people” rather than elections.

” We did n’t want to create the impression that we have done this exercise just to win seats,” Sunil Seth said.” It took us 75 years to fully integrate Kashmir with the rest of the country.”

The party management, according to reviewers, believes this is because it is aware that winning in the area would not have been simple.

While the “achievement” may sell in other states, removing the special status of the Himalayan region has n’t gone down well with the people here, says Noor Ahmad Baba, a political analyst.

Rapid Action Force personnel stand guard at a roadblock ahead of the Muslim Friday noon prayers in Jammu on August 9, 2019, after the Indian government stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its autonomy

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Opposition leaders claim that Mr. Modi’s gathering hoped to prevent the vote from becoming a referendum on its 2019 choice.

” If people were happy with the abrogation of Article 370, the BJP would n’t have hesitated to fight”, says Omar Abdullah, a former chief minister of the region and a member of the National Conference (NC ) party.

” But they do n’t want to expose themselves, and to save their face, they have decided not to contest”.

In Jammu and Kashmir, voting takes place in five stages. Apart from Mr Abdullah’s NC, those in the fray include the People’s Democratic Party ( PDP ), the Peoples Conference (PC ) and Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party. India’s main opposition group Congress is likewise contesting.

The BJP is supporting the PC and Apni Party in the elections, according to NC and PDP leaders, who have consistently called them their “proxies.”

The BJP has n’t made any official announcements about an empire. However, BJP options told the BBC that some of its supporters have hideouts in northern and central Kashmir. Next month, the group’s local main Ravinder Raina said they would march behind “like- thinking parties”.

Many of the party’s native members, who claim to have been polling preparations since 2019, were caught off guard by the party’s decision to surrender ground.

” We had been going doorway- to- entrance, meeting people and telling them about the job done by the state”, said Shabir Ahmad Zargar, a BJP contractor from northern Kashmir’s Kupwara district.

” We are disappointed, but we have to accept the decision of the gathering”, adds Fida Hussain, another party contractor from northern Kashmir’s Baramulla area.

The BJP is inaugurating an election office for the Baramulla Parliamentary Constituency in the presence of State General Secretary Sunil Sharma in Baramulla, Jammu and Kashmir, India, on January 30, 2024. Hundreds of party workers, including men and women, are joining and raising pro-BJP slogans. (Photo by Nasir Kachroo/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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The BJP’s decision is also surprising because it is the first day the area has n’t hosted a general election since 1996.

Although the gathering typically receives little support in this country, experts claim that its cadre has grown in recent years.

Its best effectiveness came in the 2016 state votes, when it joined the PDP to form the government. The group won 25 of the entire 87 seats- all in Jammu.

The original state’s last council elections were held in this manner. In the wake of the coalition’s collapse in 2018, Mr. Modi’s administration imposed direct rule over the area.

The group received a raise in 2020, after it won the regional votes, including three votes in Kashmir.

The authorities changed the council seat boundaries two years later, allowing Jammu to receive six more seats while Kashmir was given one more, increasing the total to 90. ( Until 2019, Jammu had 37 seats and Kashmir had 46 ).

The training was widely accepted as a means of boosting Hindus ‘ impact in the area’s democratic politics.

However, experts claim that the BJP has failed to have an effect on the ground despite some political victories.

Delhi has ruled the area from the beginning. But individuals prefer a politically- elected state where they are connected with the leadership”, says Mr Baba, the researcher.

Local authorities and opposition leaders claim that the disillusionment among people has increased as a result of many different factors. This includes allegations of human rights violations by security forces, as well as higher employment rates and lack of local political representation.

” Even if they win all the chairs in the rest of the country, losing from Kashmir would have been a big defeat”, says Mohit Bhan, the PDP director.

” To prevent that they opted not to subject any candidate”, he claims.

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