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Anantnag-Rajouri seat: Credibility of prominent leaders from BJP, NC, PDP is at stake; Minorities confused; Mehbooba, Zafar, Altaf set for a tough contest – Poonch Today
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Anantnag-Rajouri seat: Credibility of prominent leaders from BJP, NC, PDP is at stake; Minorities confused; Mehbooba, Zafar, Altaf set for a tough contest


Anantnag-Rajouri seat: Credibility of prominent leaders from BJP, NC, PDP is at stake; Minorities confused; Mehbooba, Zafar, Altaf set for a tough contest

Anantnag-Rajouri seat: Credibility of prominent leaders from BJP, NC, PDP is at stake; Minorities confused; Mehbooba, Zafar, Altaf set for a tough contest



POONCH: With a few days left for the elections in the newly created Anantnag-Rajouri parliamentary constituency, the major political parties like the BJP, NC, Apni Party, and PDP are making hectic efforts to win the voters for their sides. Earlier, when the date of polling was extended to May 25th from May 7th due to weather disturbances and closure of mughal road, some political people approached the election commission and demanded the postponement of polling day.

After hectic deliberations, the election commission extended the date to May 25th, despite strict reservations shown by PDP and NC leaders. Although the contest was projected on some social media platforms to be between the NC and PDP only, the strong gesture shown by the BJP has changed the dynamics in this Anantnag-Rajouri parliamentary seat. The BJP has given directions to its cadre to mobilize support for Apni Party candidate Zafar Manhas. During the visit of senior BJP leader Tarun Chugh, party cadres and Pahari leaders were directed in the strongest possible terms by the senior BJP leader to ensure maximum votes for the Apni party candidate. The BJP also appointed some leaders for various assembly constituencies with strict directions to them to ensure maximum voter participation for their supportive candidate. Though the contest is likely to be triangular between Mehbooba Mufti, Mian Altaf, and Zaffer Manhas, the credibility of a number of prominent political leaders from the BJP, NC, PDP, and Apni party is at stake. Some turncoat leaders from different political parties earlier joined the BJP with the intention of getting some handsome rewards, but the strong directions of the BJP senior leaders to all of them to show their presence on the ground through votes has given them sleepless nights. The same is the case with political leaders from other parties. The credibility of PDP leaders Shamim Ganai, NC leader Ajaz Jan, Ch Akram, Javed Rana, Apni party leader Shah Mohd Tantray,  and BJP leaders like Pardeep Sharma, Sohail Malik, Mushtaq Bhukhari, Wajid Bashir Tickoo, and Shenaz Ganai is at stake, as all the leaders have to show their performance before their party bosses. Although the Paharis were confused when the BJP decided to stay out of the contest on this seat, in a hurry, an ex-MLC from Mendhar announced his support for Mehbooba Mufti, and accordingly, some Pahari leaders started moving towards the PDP. But the sudden entry of the BJP in favor of the Apni party candidate has changed the political dynamics and exposed the real character of those Pahari leaders who used to beat around the bush before the top BJP leaders that they would stand with the BJP by all means. Going by the initial statements of former legislators from Surankote and Mendhar, political pundits are of the view that the top BJP leaders detected in advance that the real intentions of some Pahari leaders were bad, and that’s why the BJP decided to stay away directly. The BJP is using every trick to win the seat by any means for the Apni party, but at the same time, those leaders who backstabbed their previous political parties and had a controversial history of indulging in various frauds joined the BJP only for their own self-interest and to protect themselves from their committed frauds. But now those leaders are in a dilemma, as they have realized that there would be no easy cakewalk for them in the BJP because in the saffron brigade, only performance matters. Another twist has come to this seat as minorities, which remained a core vote bank of the BJP in Poonch and Rajouri districts, are still confused. Some minority community members, while talking to “POONCH TODAY,” pleading anonymity, said, “We never welcomed the creation of this new seat. The BJP seems to have sold us to the South Kashmir leadership, and we are not going to accept it. For us, peace, protection, and dignity are important, not any certificate.” Another prominent person said, “The revival of militancy in Poonch-Rajouri districts and incidents of target killings at different places in J&K have given us sleepless nights. What will we do with a certificate when we find ourselves in an atmosphere of poor protection, terrorism threats, and no elected representative at our back? It would be better if the BJP leadership reviewed this decision for the future. The BJP should not treat minorities and nationalist people of Poonch and Rajouri as scapegoats for fulfilling its political agenda.” On similar lines, prominent South Kashmiri leaders also objected to the decision to join two different regions to create a new parliamentary constituency. Meanwhile, with a few days left for the polling, the Gujjar-Pahari issue is all set to play a major role in this seat, with the BJP  using every chink in its armoury to ensure the victory of Apni Party candidate Zafar Manhas. Although there was no official statement from the BJP, the party cadre was given strict directions to work at both levels and ensure that the NC or PDP never won this seat. The BJP is considered a disciplined party, and those turncoat leaders and temporary nationalists who joined the BJP with the aim of getting a blue moon will have to prove themselves. The same holds true for leaders of other political parties, as their poor performance will land them in trouble in the eyes of their party bosses. The countdown on this Anantnag-Rajouri seat has begun, and it would be interesting to see in which way the wind blows. But one thing indicates that this election will be remembered as an election fought on the issue of Gujjars and Paharis and not on development in the Anantnag-Rajouri parliamentary seat.


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