Coming parliamentary elections: Omar Abdullah, Vikar Rasool, eyeing Rajouri-Poonch belt; Tough for BJP to win Rajouri-Anantnag seat
POONCH TODAY NEWS
POONCH/RAJOURI: After performing well in the LAHDC elections, the top leadership of Congress and the National Conference are seen focusing on the Poonch-Rajouri belt, which remained a strong pocket for both parties. In the J&K politics of the last two decades, Congress played a big role. After the 2002 assembly elections, Congress formed a coalition government with the PDP, and later, after the 2008 elections, Congress formed a coalition government with the National Conference.
So Congress remained in power for twelve straight years. It is important to mention here that the Poonch-Rajouri belt remained a strong pocket of the NC, but Congress also performed well. So, both parties have started focusing on the Poonch-Rajouri region again. The recent visit of Omar Abdullah to Surankote and the visit of the top leadership of Congress to twin border districts show that both parties are working silently to gain as much as they can from the region. In the last two parliamentary elections, the BJP won the Jammu-Poonch seat, and Congress had a huge vote share from Rajouri-Poonch districts. Now, after the creation of the new parliamentary seat of Rajouri-Anantnag, Congress and the National Conference hope that both parties have a huge voter base in this seat, so the top leadership of both parties is sparing no time in attracting the voters of the twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch. Earlier, when an announcement was made that Poonch and Rajouri would be a part of Anantnag-Rajouri constituency, people of minority communities objected to the decision, but ignoring their sentiments, the BJP’s top leadership termed the decision a strategic one. Political observers believe that the BJP cannot win this seat, and only one factor that can help the BJP win this seat is the grant of ST status to the Pahari ethnic tribe; otherwise, the National Conference and Congress are strong on this seat. During the recent visits of the top leadership of both parties, Omar Abdullah and Vikar Rasool were seen confident of performing well in the parliamentary elections, but at the same time, they separately attacked the BJP-led government by saying that the saffron party cannot win assembly elections. That’s why all-out efforts are going on silently to delay the assembly elections. At Surankote, former MLA Haveli Ajaz Jan, in the presence of Omar Abdullah, was seen saying that during the BDC and DDC elections, the people of Poonch district outright rejected the BJP, and it was a clear indication that the NC top leadership has focused completely on Poonch and Rajouri districts, eyeing a repeat of the decades-old performance by winning maximum seats in the assembly elections if held in the near future. The BJP is weak in Poonch and Rajouri districts, but only granting ST status to Paharis can help the BJP win the people of the region in both elections. Till now, there are no official reports of assembly elections in J&K, but the other day, DPAP Chief Ghulam Nabi Azad said that assembly elections in J&K will be held along with parliamentary elections in April 2024. However, the majority of the political parties in J&K have started preparation for the same, but Congress and NC are ahead of other parties and are eyeing winning the Poonch-Rajouri region again. It would be interesting to see how the BJP’s top leadership will tackle this emerging political challenge from the NC and Congress in the years to come.