Representational Image. Image Courtesy: DNA India
With the elation over its unprecedented win in the urban local body (ULB) elections nearing its close, the elected migrant Kashmiri Pandits councillors from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are apprehensive about the course of conduct in the valley. Having being elected unopposed due to the boycott calls by separatists and non-participation by the two major regional parties – PDP (People’s Democratic Party) and NC (National Conferene), the elected councillors are now facing concerns about their accommodation and security in the valley.
It should be noted that it is the first time that Kashmiri Pandits have won in an election in the valley.
Underlining their anxiety, the migrant Pandits are urging the state government to provide them security and proper accommodation. “Since these elected members are displaced and have been in exile away from Kashmir for the last 28 years, they don’t have any place to live. The government has not provided proper accommodation and security to them because of which they are unable to discharge their responsibility,” MLC GL Raina was quoted as saying by The Tribune.
Speaking with NewsClick, BJP general secretary, Ashok said, “We are working on the accommodation of Kashmir Pandits. They will also be provided security. It might take a few days but the work is on.” Notably, in Shopian district of Kashmir, out of 13 candidates who won unopposed, 11 were Kashmiri Pandits. Sources revealed that BJP had intentionally ignored local candidates in the valley and had chosen migrants living in Jammu over them. Commentators believe that such an exercise reveals the farcical nature of the elections where the locals were not selected but people who live in Jammu where given precedence, who had no idea of the problems faced by the Kashmiris in the valley.
Also Read: J&K ULB Polls: Flawed Election, Farcical Victories
National Conference General Secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar had recently told reporters, “It is rather inconceivable to think how a migrant would be able to look after the local issues; the candidates are being superimposed on completely unfamiliar terrain.” While BJP gained some ground in Kashmir, its vote share has reduced in its bastion Jammu and the party has failed miserably in Ladakh, too. Recently, NewsClick had analysed the dwindling vote share of BJP. The saffron party had come down by a staggering number of 51 per cent in the three assembly constituencies of Jammu city – Gandhi Nagar, Jammu (East) and Jammu (West).
The drastic fall of BJP in Jammu can be seen as warning bell for the party which is trying hard to claim its stake in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.