INDI Alliance in J&K and Ladakh
Anti-Sanatan and anti-Bharat INDI alliance is in complete disarray. In West Bengal, the ruling TMC and opposition Congress and Left parties are one against each other. In Punjab and Delhi, the AAP and the Congress are out to puncture and defeat each other. In Kerala, the Left-led LDF and Congress-led UDF hate, despise and oppose each other. In Maharashtra, the Udhhav Shiv Sena and the Congress don’t trust Shard Pawar of the divided NCP. Besides, the AAP, which has hardly any support base in Haryana, Rajasthan, MP, Chhattisgarh, and other states, has declared to go alone in these states as far as Assembly elections are concerned. Similarly, the local Congress leadership in Punjab, Delhi, Haryana, and even UP, has declared that it hates the AAP and the SP. The story of the ragtag Mahagathbandhan (part of INDI Alliance) in Bihar is no different.
But this piece focuses only on the state of INDI Alliance in J&K and Ladakh. And I start with the statement the former J&K CM and vice-president of pro-autonomy NC, Omar Abdullah, made at the New Delhi’s Coordination Committee meeting, held at the official residence of Shard Pawar for 60 minutes. He made the statement in the presence of Mehbooba Mufti and the Congress general secretary and Sonia Gandhi’s right-hand man K C Venugopal.
What did Omar Abdullah say? He said: “His suggestion is not to discuss seats already held by alliance members and focus on the seats held by the NDA parties…One of the things I had proposed is that the seats that are already held by members of the I.N.D.I.A. block should not be open for discussion, we should be discussing the seats held by the BJP, NDA or parties that are part of either of those alliances…”.
What does this mean? This means that the NC will not consider the claim of the PDP and the Congress to any of the three Lok Sabha seats in Kashmir and will only discuss the seat-sharing formula for the remaining three seats – two in Jammu province and one in the trans-Himalayan Ladakh.
In 2019, the NC had won all the three Lok Sabha seats in Kashmir. NC president and ex-CM Farooq Abdullah had won the Srinagar seat. He had got a paltry 1,06,750 votes (57%) out of a total electorate of almost 8 lakh. Former J&K HC judge Hasnain Masoodi had won from the Anantnag constituency and got a paltry 40,180 votes (32.17%) out of a total electorate of about 8 lakh. Mohammad Akhbar Lone, who openly shouts Pakistan zindbad slogans, had won from the Baramulla constituency and got only 1,33,426 votes (29.29%) out of a total electorate of around 8 lakh. Aga Syed Mohsin of the PDP was runner-up in the Srinagar constituency. Ghulam Ahmad Mir of the Congress was runner-up in the Anantnag Constituency. Raja Aijaz Ali of the People Conference was runner-up in the Baramulla Constituency.
The remaining three seats – two in Jammu province and one in Ladakh – were won by the BJP. Jugal Kishore Sharma again won from the Jammu-Poonch constituency. He got 8,58,066 votes (58.02%) and won by a huge margin of over three lakh votes. Raman Bhalla of the Congress was runner-up. He got 37.54% votes. Jitendra Singh (presently MoS in PMO) again won the Kathua-Udhampur-Doda seat. He got 7,24,311 votes (61.38%). He won with a huge margin of over two lakh votes. Vikramaditya Singh (son of Karan Singh) of the Congress was the runner-up. He got 31.1% votes. As for the lone Ladakh seat, it was Jamyang Tsering Namgyal who won. He got 42,914 votes (33.94%). The runner-up was Sajjad Hussain (independent). He had got 25.3% votes.
Reports emanating from Kashmir suggest that while the NC is not prepared to leave even a single seat in the Valley either for the PDP or the Congress, the PDP – apart from one of the two seats Srinagar and Baramulla — wants the Anantnag seat. Anantnag is the home constituency of Mehbooba Mufti. Not just this, the NC also wants to contest at least one seat, now called the Anantnag-Poonch seat as well as the Ladakh seat. The only seat it is prepared to leave is the Kathua-Udhampur-Doda seat. The PDP has no support base in this constituency. The Congress still has some support base in this constituency where the proportion of Hindus and Muslims is 75:25.
As far as the Congress is concerned, it will not agree to leave both the seats in Jammu province and the Lone seat in Ladakh either for the NC or for the PDP. In 2014 and 2019, the Congress and the NC contested the general elections jointly. The Congress fought in Jammu and lost both the times to BJP. The NC suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the PDP in all three constituencies in Kashmir in 2014. Even Farooq Abdullah lost.
What does all this suggest? It suggests that the INDI Alliance in the Union Territory of J&K and the Union Territory of Ladakh is a divided house.
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
 News anchors, seat-sharing, caste census: What INDIA parties discussed at panel meet – Sep 13, 2023, Hindustan Times
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