Post-Article 370 Politics


(MENAFN- Kashmir Observer)

In the ongoing Lok Sabha election campaign in Jammu and Kashmir, a battle royale is brewing between the established political order and the emergent challengers. The political landscape is divided between the old guard, comprising the National Conference (NC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and the Congress, and the new contenders, including the Apni Party led by Altaf Bukhari, the Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) headed by Ghulam Nabi Azad, and the People's Conference (PC) led by Sajad Lone – albeit, the PC's provenance goes back to eighties..

The BJP's ascendancy in Jammu and Kashmir post-2015 elections, followed by its coalition with the PDP, has significantly altered the political dynamic of the region. However, the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019 further reshaped the politics of the region, giving rise to new players like the Apni Party and the restructured People's Conference.

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The battle lines are drawn most sharply in the constituencies of Anantnag and Kupwara. In Anantnag, PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti faces off against NC's Mian Altaf, while in Kupwara, NC's Omar Abdullah is pitted against PC leader Sajad Lone. The outcomes of these contests will offer a glimpse into the future political scenario of the region.

The unraveling of the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), formed to advocate for the restoration of Article 370, reflects the deep-seated divisions within the opposition ranks. The NC and the PDP, once integral members, have now begun charting independent courses.

However, this fragmentation, coupled with the BJP's strategic maneuvering, presents a formidable advantage for the saffron party. The growing number of political parties in the Valley has caused unease among many, who fear it will fragment the Kashmiri mandate and diminish the Valley's political sway.

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The emergence of the PC as a significant player in North Kashmir, traditionally held by the NC and the PDP, adds a new dimension to the political landscape. Should Lone succeed in rallying North Kashmir around his party, it would transform the electoral dynamics of the Valley, splitting it among the NC, the PDP, and the PC.

However, challenges lie ahead for the new contenders. While the Apni Party's pro-New Delhi stance may not translate into votes, the DPAP is yet to make its mark. In contrast, the PC commands a definite support base in Kupwara, and its influx of leaders from the PDP and the NC has bolstered its position.

As the Lok Sabha elections draw on, the contest between the old guard and the new contenders intensifies. While the outcome of these elections will provide insight into the current political scenario, the future assembly elections will reveal how the post-Article 370 political landscape plays out on the ground.

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Kashmir Observer

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