- Sputnik India, 1920
Kashmir News
Sputnik India special correspondent in Jammu & Kashmir is working 24/7 to provide an original & non-biased perception of events in the Kashmiri region.

Kashmir Gets Set for Bitter Election Battle Among Former Allies

© AP Photo / Dar YasinAn Indian paramilitary soldier stands guard on the road loading towards Zojila tunnel before the arrival of Indian transport minister in Sonamarg, northeast of Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021.
An Indian paramilitary soldier stands guard on the road loading towards Zojila tunnel before the arrival of Indian transport minister in Sonamarg, northeast of Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021. - Sputnik India, 1920, 03.04.2024
The INDIA Alliance, a coalition of parties that are opposed to the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party, is currently facing a crisis in Jammu and Kashmir due to a rift between regional parties.
Regional political parties in Jammu and Kashmir, once united in their demand for the restoration of the region's semi-autonomous status revoked by the federal government in 2019, have now found themselves embroiled in a bitter campaign ahead of India's 2024 general election.

Former state chief and leader of the region's Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mehbooba Mufti, announced on Wednesday that her party would be contesting elections for all three seats in the Kashmir division.

This development comes after a period of heightened tension following the National Conference (NC) and the Indian National Congress (INC) forming a seat-sharing agreement as part of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA). This coalition, comprised of pan-Indian parties opposed to the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), has caused turmoil within the region's political landscape.
Both the NC and PDP have also been part of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Deceleration (PAGD) alliance, which is a group of political parties demanding the restoration of Kashmir’s autonomy.

“They (NC) have left no option for us other than to field candidates and contest the elections,” Mehbooba Mufti said in a press conference in Srinagar.

According to expectations, with both parties officially part of two alliances, a seat-sharing arrangement between the INC, PDP, and NC would have been reached.
The parties had previously united to contest the 2020 local election, vying for control over the District Development Council (DDC) boards, and successfully secured the majority of the 280 seats in J&K.
However, instead of collaborating, the NC opted to field candidates for the three Kashmir seats, while the Congress chose to fight for two seats in Jammu.
The NC had also bet on the PDP supporting its candidates instead of fielding their own.
Mehbooba said “I had hoped Omar (Abdullah) would keep the party interests aside. But the NC took the decision to contest all three seats in Kashmir unilaterally. The way Omar spoke was very disappointing, that was an insult not to me, but to my workers. So, how can I tell my workers to support NC?”
During a previous interview, Abdullah highlighted the PDP's poor performance in the 2019 general elections. He stated that it didn't make sense for them to contest the polls when the NC had clearly emerged stronger and victorious along all three Lok Sabha seats in Kashmir in the last general elections.

“What can I say about this? It is their own will. How can I stop them? We announced candidates for the three seats of Kashmir based on their own formula,” Abdullah today told reporters in Srinagar today.

To make matters worse, former cabinet minister and People's Conference head Sajad Lone requested that a case be filed against former state chief and current Member of Parliament Farooq Abdullah for his alleged involvement in the rigging of the 1987 elections, which ultimately sparked a three-decade-long anti-India insurgency.
However, the drama within regional parties does not end there. Former state chief and current Federal Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has decided to contest elections from a seat in the Kashmir region. This decision has raised concerns among regional parties, as it may split their votes and ultimately benefit the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Azad, who has been a loyal member of the Congress party for nearly five decades, has been a part of coalition governments with both the National Conference and the People's Democratic Party over the past three decades. His decision to contest in Kashmir marks a significant shift in his political allegiances.
The view of the frontier from the Indian border town of Kargil, in northern most Jammu and Kashmir,  battered  in 1999 by Pakistani artillery shells, is seen Wednesday, June 19, 2001. - Sputnik India, 1920, 01.04.2024
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