After the defeat of Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) in Karnataka elections, many Jammu &Kashmir politicians fear that elections in UT could get further delayed due to these results.
After the BJP didn’t perform well in Karnataka elections and the party’s tally reduced to 66, and Congress managed to win 135 seats, many J&K politicians anticipate that the BJP will try to avoid elections in the UT.
The J&K is without legislative assembly from 2018 after the BJP withdrew its support from coalition government headed by Mehbooba Mufti. After abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019 in the parliament, the home minister Amit Shah had promised elections after delimitation exercise gets complete. Though delimitation exercise and publication of final electoral rolls in J&K was completed last year still there have be no dates for the assembly elections in the UT.
In March, National Conference president and former J&K chief minister Farooq Abdullah along with delegation of several political leaders of J&K met chief election commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar and submitted a memorandum for holding early elections. The CEC according to J&K leaders had assured early elections.
Both state and Central BJP leadership along with their allies are hoping to form the government in J&K whenever polls will be held. However, many leaders are of the view that the assembly polls are deliberately delayed.
“Now there is no way the BJP will have the courage to allow Assembly elections to take place in J&K any time soon,” tweeted Abdullah.
Additional PDP spokesman Rafiq Rather said that BJP’s defeat in Karnataka is seen as a victory of secular forces. “There was a myth created that BJP is indispensable and cannot be defeated. Now, this myth has been broken in two states—first in neighbouring Himachal Pradesh and now in Karnataka. The secular forces in J&K will get encouraged by these results,” he said adding that J&K has suffered for all these years because of the divisive policies of BJP. “People of J&K would participate in polls in good numbers to uproot the BJP from J&K. Moreover sensing defeat in UT after big defeat in Karnataka, BJP may not go for immediate elections here.”
Peoples Conference spokesman Adnan Ashraf said BJP has already fears to go for assembly elections in J&K due to adverse feedback from its cadres in Jammu region. “With defeat in Karnataka assembly elections and Lok Sabha polls scheduled for next year, BJP will try to avoid elections in J&K as bad results could impact Lok Sabha polls for the national party.”
Congress senior leader and BDC member Mir Iqbal said downfall of BJP has begun from Karnataka. “BJP will be defeated in J&K also only if assembly polls are held here.”
BJP statespokesman Altaf Thakur said defeat of Karnataka will have no impact on J&K. “We are ready for elections even today. Even if they all contest against us, our party will still defeat them. The opposition parties are very fearful of our party.”
J&K’s chief electoral officer PK Pole said in next one year the elections for urban local bodies, panchayats and Lok Sabha will be held. “The assembly elections are also due in this financial year,” he had told a Jammu based newspaper. Pole, however, didn’t specify dates for the assembly elections and many political leaders are now of the opinion that assembly elections won’t be held very soon. The last assembly elections were held in 2014 when J&K was the state. Since 2018, J&K is under Governor’s rule.