Modi and the fish eye
Buoyed with its spectacular success in Lok Sabha elections in the state of J&K, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is since aspiring to acquire the number one position there. The party has come a long way as it scored three out of six seats from the state, hence, forcing a complete rout for the ruling National Conference and Congress. The earlier score of the BJP varied between one to two seats, that too in the Jammu division. For the first time it emerged victorious in Ladakh, though with a slender margin. The major factor astonishing all political analysts is that the BJP scored 32.4 per cent, the highest vote share in the state, in recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, leaving the three other established parties way behind.
The Peoples Democratic Party headed by a former CM, Mufti Mohd. Sayed scored three seats with 20.5 per cent votes whereas the Congress scored a big zero with 22.9 per cent votes. The National Conference, a dynastic political outfit of Abdullah’s, also drew a blank with just 11.1 per cent votes. The rise of the BJP is not less than meteoric one as it gained three seats in the current Lok Sabha election against nil in 2009 elections.
The performance of the BJP in the 16th Lok Sabha elections from the state stunned the other political parties as far as the statistics of the Assembly elections held in 2002 and 2008 is concerned. The term of the Assembly in J&K is six years as the state is being governed under its special status, being debated these days across the country. During 2008 Assembly Elections, the BJP scored 11 seats in 87 member house with just 15.22 per cent votes. Its share of votes witnessed more than two fold hike during 2008 and 2014 whereas the PDP could manage an increase of just four per cent from 17.51 per cent to 20.5 per cent during the period. The Congress could not score any seat despite its increased vote share by three per cent. The PDP secured three per cent more votes whereas the National Conference had to lose a substantial per cent, i.e. 12 per cent resulting in a big debacle. The number of seats in the Assembly Elections in 2002 and 2008 were BJP one and 11, Congress 20 and 17, PDP 16 and 21 and the National Conference 28 and 25 respectively. The statistics pertaining to the latest Lok Sabha elections and the two Assembly elections of 2002 and 2008 reflect a sustained surge for the saffron party.
The party has been nurtured by the late Premnath Dogra and his followers including Nationalist Muslims like Sheikh Abdul Rahman and others. The party has been evaluating its performance in 2014 Lok Sabha elections and has also been taking it as a winner in the majority of Assembly’s 87 seats. It makes a strong point to aspire the number one party in the state with resolve to score an absolute majority in 2014 Assembly Elections likely to be held around November this year. The party has enough time to achieve the mission of 44 plus as defined by Lok Sabha member from Jammu, state BJP President J K Sharma.
One would be forced to analyse a recent comment by Jitender Singh, who has been given an important assignment in the PMO, Union MOS, a first time elected BJP MP from Udhampur, Jammu Division, holding important assignments and an independent rank of a few key departments in Modi government. Singh mentioned about revisiting Article 370 by the government and had to retract immediately after getting flaks from the opposition. Singh might be a new MP though he cannot be termed as a novice in politics as he is holding the post of the chief spokesperson in the BJP. He is an educated person and has served as Diabetes and Endocrinology consultant and clinical practitioner prior to joining politics. He spearheaded an agitation demanding transfer of forest land to Amarnath Shrine Board. Moreover he has become a giant killer by trouncing a formidable Congress candidate, former CM and Union Minister, G N Azad in Udhampur. It is another aspect that Singh’s brother D S Rana is on the other side of the political fence and is Jammu province president of the National Conference. Singh is a matured person, hence one may not expect any light comment from him as he had been a columnist in a newspaper and has penned down eight books. Singh was also denied a US visa because of his association with Amarnath Samiti. This is enough to conclude that the comment might have been made as an effort to effect polarisation of votes in the ensuing Assembly Elections.
In case the BJP succeeds in its attempt it can achieve mission 44 plus. The state has been ruled by the regional parties since 25 Februray 1975 except for a short duration when a Congress leader headed the coalition government for less than three years and four short durations as Governor rule. Time will tell if the BJP would be lucky to hold the baton in the state.
The author is a communication consultant