Assembly elections in J&K! Tough for Jan, Tantray to win Poonch haveli again; Jahangir, Dr Shenaz, Pardeep, Shamim Ganai, Riyaaz, Ch Gani among the likely contenders
POONCH TODAY NEWS
POONCH: The recent statement of Home Minister Amit Shah regarding the conduct of assembly elections in J&K by the Election Commission of India this year has given a direct hint to all the political parties that the assembly elections in J&K, which were due for some years, are likely to be held this year.
On this issue, various political parties have started working on the formulation of strategies as per their policies. In Poonch haveli constituency, there are a number of contenders who are likely to fight, and on that list are the names of ex-MLA Ajaz Jan, ex-MLA Shah Mohd Tantray, ex-Deputy Chairman Legislative Council Jahangir Mir, ex-MLC Dr Shenaz Ganai, ex-MLC Pardeep Sharma, BDC Chairman Mandi Shamim Ganai, DDC members Riyaaz Choudhary, and Ch Abdul Gani. Due to the number of likely contenders, it would be very tough for Ajaz Jan and Shah Mohd Tantray to win Poonch haveli again, going by the recent political permutations and combinations that have emerged, particularly on the issue of proposed ST status for Paharis. On the developmental front, Ajaz Jan took some big steps as an MLA, but his developmental initiatives and related claims were challenged by Shah Mohd Tantray, who became an MLA in 2014 as a PDP candidate. Only the public can say whose tenure was best, Jan’s or Tantray’s, but overall, political observers believe that Jan had the upper hand over Tantray. Congress will most likely rely on two names: Jahangir Mir, former Deputy Chairman Legislative Council, and Ch. Abdul Gani, currently a DDC member. Jahangir Mir, who remained an MLA and MLC before becoming Deputy Chairman, also played a developmental role in the Poonch district.On the other hand, Ch Abdul Gani has been trying to impress the people through his work as a DDC member. Young fire brand PDP leader and BDC Chairman, Mandi Shamim Ganai, who is blessed with the gift of gab, has been trying to give justice to his people through his BDC chair and is likely to be the PDP candidate. Whereas Adv Riyaaz Choudhary, who is the son of late legislator Ch Bashir Naaz, is also seen as a prospective political face for the future. Currently, Riyaaz is a DDC member from Loran and is playing a role for his people from a developmental perspective and is likely to fight from Azad’s group. The face of the BJP is not yet clear, but inside the saffron brigade, Pardeep Sharma is the only big face, who has brought the BJP from 1000 to 12,000 votes, while M.R. Chisti is also in the race for a mandate. No other BJP leader in Poonch has such a massive vote bank. The stance of ex-MLC Dr. Shenaz Ganai about joining a new political party is not clear yet. Dr. Shenaz is also a big name in Poonch politics, and she is also blessed with the gift of gab. As a legislator, she carved a niche for herself in J&K politics and met the country’s top constitutional dignitaries. There are some major political figures who may change their allegiances ahead of the elections in order to gain a mandate, but the competition for the Poonch haveli seat is likely to be between Jan, Tantray, Jahangir, Ch Gani, Riyaaz, Shamim Ganai, Pardeep, and Dr. Shenaz. It’s too early to say about the final names of candidates for various political parties to fight for this Poonch haveli seat, but no other political leader right now has the capacity to counter these well-known political personalities of Poonch. However, who will carry forward the legacy of late MLC Yashpaul Sharma, is not known yet, and there are reports someone from Yashpaul’s family may run in the assembly elections. Although none of the legislatures did anything big for Poonch other than some routine developmental activities, Poonch is desperately looking for some big developmental initiatives and needs a leader with a farsighted vision. The BJP led government at the centre has blessed Poonch with this Jammu-Poonch national highway and the ongoing construction of tunnels, and it’s a big project for the people of Poonch and Rajouri districts. NC, PDP, and Congress also gave some projects to Poonch, but their numbers were less. It is important to mention here that the development scenario in Poonch remained on the backburner during the last decade. Although ex-legislators from Poonch were seen beating around the bush about their developmental claims, only the public knows very well about the reality on the ground. The public also accused some of these leaders of being involved in corrupt activities. On one hand, Poonch is desperately looking for a visionary leader who can turn the tide from a development point of view, but with the available political material, expecting big development by the people of Poonch in various sectors seems to be a dream only. The majority of contenders on this Poonch haveli seat are tried and tested ammunition by the people, so in the absence of any big visionary faces, the competition is again likely to be between these political leaders who have not succeeded 100% in carving out a niche for themselves in the minds of the people. Similarly, in the Surankote and Mendhar constituencies, the lack of visionary leaders will force people to vote for tried and tested ammunition. Despite the fact that the union government has strengthened the grass root democratic institutions in J&K UT, big political leaders of various political parties are still looking for the conduct of assembly elections in J&K, and it is likely that the Election Commission of India may announce the conduct of assembly elections in J&K UT this year. Who will be the winner of the Poonch haveli seat? Jahangir, Jan, Tantray, Dr Shenaz, Pardeep, Shamim Ganai, Riyaaz, Ch Gani, or somebody else only time will tell.