With little chance of the PDP joining the INDI alliance, party workers want Mehbooba Mufti to fight for the Anantnag-Rajouri parliamentary seat; Madam will take the final decision: Shamim Ganai
(POONCH TODAY NEWS)
POONCH/JAMMU: Parliamentary elections are approaching fast, and in this connection, politics in Jammu and Kashmir is taking twists, with every political party trying its best to chalk out a comprehensive strategy to perform well.
On the one hand, the National Conference is adamant about fighting for three seats in Kashmir province with the support of Congress, while Congress has reportedly agreed to fight for two seats in Jammu division, leaving the newly created third seat of Anantnag-Rajouri in favor of the National Conference. By agreeing to give the Anantnag-Rajouri seat to the National Conference, Congress is likely to stake a claim for the Ladakh seta. In this ongoing battle, the PDP seems to be alone, and there are few chances as of now that the party may join the INDI alliance. This is the reason that the party’s top brass may decide to contest on this seat alone. Things are not clear yet, but the PDP cadre of Poonch and Rajouri districts wants Mehbooba Mufti to fight from the Anantnag-Rajouri parliamentary constituency. In back-to-back PDP cadre meetings in the twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch, the PDP cadre was seen as upbeat, as they had full confidence to perform well in this seat. Amid the NDA government decision to grant ST status to Paharis, there are strong chances that the National Conference will field a Gujjar candidate to take advantage of this emerging situation and is likely to get maximum Gujjar votes. Whereas, PDP leadership is still in a fix over this latest development, as some party leaders think that it would be a direct contest between the BJP and the NC-Cong coalition on this seat, and PDP is not expected to perform well. Despite the grant of ST status to Paharis, the PDP cadre thinks that the party has a fair chance to win this seat as Mehbooba Mufti is a strong candidate. Political observers believe that by granting ST status to Paharis, the BJP has taken a big political shot, and there is a possibility that the BJP will fight tooth and nail to win this seat. The National Conference, on the other hand, gave a calculated statement on the issue of ST status to Paharis and indirectly projected itself as a messiah for Gujjar voters. The firebrand PDP president of Poonch district, Shamim Ganai, who was seen joining people into the PDP fold regularly, said, “We have conducted a number of meetings in which party workers in one voice have requested our supremo madam, Mehboba Mufti, to fight for this seat as she is a strong candidate.” Shamim Ganai further said, “In various meetings in both districts, party workers clearly suggested that there is no reason why Madam Mehbboba Mufti should not fight for this seat. The people of Poonch and Rajouri know well what the Mufti family did for them from the day the PDP was formed. Good governance provided by the late Mufti Sahib and Madam Mehbooba Mufti is still in the minds of the people. But despite the wishes of party workers, it is Madam who will take the final decision, and we, as workers, will accept it by all means.” Political observers believe that before the grant of ST status to Paharis, the PDP was also considered a strong party in this Anantnag-Rajouri seat, but after this latest political development, there is every apprehension that the final competition will be between the BJP and the NC-Congress alliance. If the PDP decides to join the INDI alliance, then it would be tough for the BJP to face the combined NC-Cong-PDP on this seat. Things will become clear within days, but one thing is clearly understood: right now, the fight for this seat will be between the BJP and the NC-Congress coalition. The BJP is likely to take advantage of Pahari voters because in the last two parliamentary elections, a huge chunk of Gujjar voters went in favor of Congress, so by calculating all aspects, the BJP seems to have played a master stroke and wants to win this Anantnag-Rajouri seat by all means. But the body language of PDP president of Poonch district Shamim Ganai is a clear indication that PDP cadres in Poonch and Rajouri want Mehbooba Mufti to fight for this seat by all means, and it would be interesting to see how Mehbooba Mufti reacts to the demand of PDP workers in Poonch and Rajouri amid the latest emerging political scenario after the grant of ST status to Paharis, but at the same time, the BJP seems to have an upper hand on this Anantnag-Rajouri seat.