Winning the Rajouri-Anantnag parliamentary seat has become a prestige issue for some political parties; PDP leaders started an internal survey
(POONCH TODAY NEWS)
POONCH/RAJOURI: The newly formed Rajouri-Anantnag parliamentary seat has got the attention of various political parties, as the PDP and Congress are keen to fight for this seat. Reports available with “POONCH TODAY” say that PDP supreme Mehbooba Mufti has directed PDP leaders to start an internal survey to give her a detailed report about the prospects of the party in this seat before announcing any candidate.
On the other hand, by forming separate coordinators for all five seats of J&K, including the Rajouri-Anantnag, Congress has cleared its intentions. On the other hand, the BJP is in win-win condition even if the party loses the seat because the saffron brigade would be in a position to tell the whole world that Kashmiri voters have full faith in Indian democracy with their huge participation, which is expected from Shopian and Anantnag districts, as the Kashmir-based parties don’t want to lose this seat to the BJP. Sources in the NC Camp said that party leadership is considering filling Mian Altaf from this seat because there are a large number of followers of the late Mian Bashir, who was a renowned religious personality of Kangan, with followers all over. Political observers believe that Mian Altaf, if he gets the NC mandate, is a strong contender for this seat. Whereas the body language of Mehbooba Mufti also indicates that she is weighing all the pros and cons before deciding to jump in on this seat. The BJP, on the other hand, is likely to please both the Gujjar and Pahari voters by fulfilling the demand for ST status in favor of the latter. The Congress, which remained in second place in both the parliamentary elections in the Jammu-Poonch seat, also wants to fight for this seat. The visible political tussle between different components of the INDI alliance indicates that all the major opposition parties of J&K are in no mood to fight jointly because the NC is keen to fight in all the seats of Kashmir province while the BJP has the upper hand in two seats of Jammu province. Now this seat in Rajouri-Anantnag has become a prestige seat for the PDP and Congress. On the other hand, the BJP is keen to win this seat by all means, which seems to be a difficult one without granting ST status to Paharis. There are reports that are emerging silently that the BJP government may grant ST status to Paharis and, after that, project a Gujjar candidate from Rajouri-Anantnag constituency to strike a balance between voters from all sections of society. The frequent visits of BJP Chief Ravinder Raina to Rajouri-Poonch are a clear indication of this, as the party seems to have devised a strategy to keep people of all faiths together. Whatever the political permutations and combinations for all the parties, one thing is clear: the newly formed Rajouri-Poonch seat has become the most important seat for all the major political parties. If INDI alliance partners are able to strike a deal for all seats, then there is a huge possibility that the BJP will have to perform extraordinarily on this seat to beat the joint INDI alliance candidate. As the parliamentary elections are approaching, this Rajouri-Anantnag belt is expected to witness a hot political climate day by day amid cold winter conditions.