With the results of the Jammu & Kashmir assembly elections out, hectic lobbying among the political parties has started, with a visible sign of the People’s Democratic Party and the Congress warming-up to form the government.
With 28 seats, the PDP has emerged as sigle largest party in the 87-member house, followed by the Bharatiya Janata Party with 25. With 15 and 12 seats, National Conference and Congress stand at third and fourth position respectively.
The notable facets of the results have been that NC has gone down from 28 members in the previous assembly to 15; the BJP had won 11 in the previous house. The PDP'stally is the highest since it fought the first election in 2002.
Even though the BJP got little more than half than it had aspired through its much-hyped ‘mission 44+,’ the number needed to form the government in the 87-member house of the state, but for the first time in the Muslim-majority state’s political history, it managed not only 25 seats, but also became the second largest party. The BJP could not win any seat in Kashmir.
BJP won all its 25 seats from Jammu province routing sitting MLAs of the NC and the Congress.
"We have broken barriers and made inroads in Kashmir and that is our success. We were able to hold 39 big rallies in the valley which is an important achievement for us,” Ramesh Arora BJP’s elections incharge for Kashmir told Rediff.com.
Interestingly, the BJP got a Muslim MLA Abdul Gani Kohli, who won from Kalakote seat of Rajouri district in Jammu province.
The Congress, which has been the kingmaker in the government since the 2002 assembly election, has gone below to 12 seats, while it had 17 members in the last assembly.
Separatist-turned mainstream politician Sajjad Gani Lone made the debut in the electoral politics by not only wining his own seat but another one as well in the border district of Kupwara. Lone defeated his close rival NC’s Muhammad Ramzan Chowdhry in Handwara constituency, while as his party candidate Bashir Ahmad Dar won from Kupwara constituency defeating Saifullah Mir three-time NC MLA and minister in the outgoing government.
If there is the big loser party in these elections, it is the NC.
Omar Abdullah was contesting from two constituencies -- Sonwar in Srinagar district and Berwah in Budgam district. In Sonwar he lost to PDP’s Muhammad Ashraf Mir while as managed to win Beerwah. Srinagar city, which was considered to be NC bastion as the party had won all the eight seats in the 2008 elections, the NC won only three.
The PDP wrested ground from arch-rival NC by winning five seats in Srinagar. Many NC stalwarts and ministers, including finance minister Abdul Rahim Rather, in the outgoing government too lost to PDP candidates.
Even though it’s more likely that the PDP and the Congress will forge an alliance to stake claim for the government, the BJP says its options are open. On the other hand, the NC too has not rejected possibility of alliance with the BJP or the PDP.
“We have not taken any decision as yet; I will talk to my colleagues and see how NC positions itself in the emerging scenario,” Omar Abdullah said. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, while hinting an alliance with the Congress, told reporters in Srinagar that her party is not merely looking for an alliance.
“We are not interested to cobble up numbers to form the government but we look for an alliance in which we will be able to follow our policies of governance,” she said.
Among the important winners is Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami, state secretary of Communist Party of India-Marxist and Engineer Rasheed, an independent MLA who has formed his own party. Tarigami won the fourth consecutive time from Kulgam constituency an area dominated by pan-Islamic Jamat-e-Islami party.
Rasheed, known for his firebrand activism, retained the Langate seat of North Kashmir.
With seven ‘other’ members in the hung house, they will have a significant role in the government formation. It is yet not clear whether Lone, Tarigami and Rasheed will be part of any alliance.
Image; BJP party workers celebrate after the results at the Polytechnic college in Jammu on Tuesday. Photograph: PTI