ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Jammu and Kashmir

The 2019 parliamentary elections reaffirmed the fact of regional divide on religious lines in Jammu and Kashmir. Banking on Narendra Modi and Hindutva ideology, the Bharatiya Janata Party swept the polls in Jammu. Amidst the historic low participation in south and central regions of Kashmir division, the National Conference made a solid comeback in the Valley, while People’s Democratic Party’s seemingly unrelenting downslide continued.

(This article was written before 5 August 2019.)

Like in 2014, the 2019 parliamentary election in Jammu and Kashmir  (J&K) witnessed a clear regional and religious divide. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) dominated Jammu and Ladakh, while the National Conference (NC) did well in the Muslim majority regions of the Kashmir Valley. However, a major difference being the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) got replaced by the NC. Like 2014, the “Modi wave” and the consolidation of Hindu vote in favour of the BJP was quite visible; in the Kashmir region, the PDP’s sharp decline since its alliance with the BJP after the 2014 assembly elections could be seen in all the three parliamentary seats of the region. However, a deeper analysis of the voting patterns and people’s perceptions/opinions on various issues makes for an interesting reading. The following analysis is based on the aggregate data released by the Election Commission of India and the post-poll survey data from the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS)–Lokniti, conducted immediately after elections in each parliamentary constituency.

With mainstream space shrinking for quite sometime now in Kashmir, the NC made a resounding comeback in an election that has seen one of the lowest turnouts. With voting being close to 45% there was a slight dip from the 2014 parliamentary elections when the state witnessed total poll percentage of close to 50% (Figure 1, p 21). This is because of the extremely low voter turnout in the Kashmir region. The 2014 parliamentary elections had witnessed a much higher turnout in the Kashmir region than this time around. In 2014, as a counter to the rising BJP wave, the regional political parties, especially the PDP, had been able to mobilise voters to thwart the BJP’s march into the Valley. Nothing of that sort could happen this time around.

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Updated On : 30th Aug, 2019
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