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Campaigning, rallies, and roadshows

Parliamentary polls is the first major electoral exercise since 2019
12:00 AM Apr 24, 2024 IST | ZAHOOR MALIK
campaigning  rallies  and roadshows

As the campaigning for the parliamentary polls in the three constituencies in Kashmir is gaining momentum, holding of road shows and addressing of election rallies by the leaders of the contesting political parties is also picking up pace. Some candidates are also engaged in door to door campaigns.


Anantnag-Rajouri constituency will first go to polls, followed by Srinagar and Baramulla. Since  polling will be first held in Anantnag-Rajouri constituency so  more focus of the parties is there right now. The leaders and their party workers and supporters are engaged in hectic election related activities in south Kashmir part of the constituency. Shortly these activities will pick up momentum in the Rajouri and Poonch areas of the constituency as well.


Parliamentary polls is the first major electoral exercises since 2019 when the last Lok Sabha polls were held. Assembly polls were last held in Jammu and Kashmir in 2014.

As per the Supreme Court direction to Election Commission of India ( ECI) the assembly polls are to be held by September 30 this year. Accordingly, the political parties are also gearing up in their own way to prepare for the assembly polls. Most parties have already appointed their assembly constituency heads, who are finally expected to get mandate. However,  minor changes can be made here and there. Some senior leaders are also introducing their candidates for assembly polls in the election rallies this time.


However, right now the whole thrust is on the ongoing parliamentary elections and its outcome. Some leaders have described it as semi-final before the final (assembly polls). Surely, a good performance in the Lok Sabha polls will give the winning parties a boost.


The election activities are taking place at a time when agriculture and horticulture related activities are in full swing across Kashmir and so is the tourism season. Despite their engagements the supporters of political parties in large number are attending the rallies and roadshows and listening to the speeches of the leaders.


Political leaders are appealing people to vote in large number and enthusiastically take part in elections to exercise their democratic right. They are also telling them what  they and their parties have done or doing for them. They are also criticising rivals on various fronts.


After announcing not to contest parliamentary polls from Anantnag-Rajouri  constituency, former chief minister and chairman Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) Ghulam Nabi Azad made an appeal to his party men to criticise the rivals only on political front.

DPAP chairman and National Conference (NC) Vice President Omar Abdullah had recently targeted each other fiercely. During the campaigning in Chenab Valley the NC leader alleged that Azad ditched Congress, which had given him important positions and ministries, and formed, DPAP, “which has become a puppet of BJP.” He also claimed that his father and NC President Dr Farooq Abdullah helped Azad twice to become a Rajya Sabha member. The DPAP chairman hit back and said that Omar was chief minister for six years due to the support of his MLAs. Azad claimed that both Dr Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah have not faced difficulties in their political careers and are still reaping the benefits of the hardships faced by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah during his struggle.

This level of criticism by the two former chief ministers did take many in the political circles by surprise. Because Azad for long had very cordial relations with Abdullah family. There was a time in past when Azad and Abdullah family utilised each other’s services in an attempt to neutralise the growing influence of PDP founder Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in New Delhi and Kashmir. But the DPAP Chairman says that not only PDP was happy but NC too was equally pleased when his government collapsed due to pull out by coalition party PDP in 2008.” They were happy since they thought I had to return to national politics and would not be a threat to their families’ rotational rule,” Azad said. Realising that the level of criticism was going somewhere else the DPAP Chairman finally wanted to put an end to it

While the allegations and counter allegations between Omar and Azad have seemingly come to a halt, a new tussle  between NC Vice President Omar Abdullah and People’s Conference President Sajad Gani Lone is on. Both Lone and Omar are contesting from Baramulla constituency.

Lone described Omar as tourist in Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency. The NC leader asked the PC leader that if he is a tourist and cannot win “why then are you seeking Altaf Bukhari’s support to defeat me.” Lone defended his decision saying that Altaf Bukhari is like his brother and there is nothing wrong in seeking his support.

After BJP announced not to field its candidate in Anantnag-Rajouri constituency, Omar and PDP President Mehbooba Mufti are engaged in war of words. This includes Mehbooba’s claim that how NC leadership hit the soul of PAGD by saying that PDP is finished and unilaterally announcing to contest all the three seats in Kashmir. NC Vice President in his election rallies is justifying his party decision and accusing PDP of joining PAGD and INDIA block just for getting seats. Omar has been “reminding the PDP leadership of inviting BJP to J&K by  forming a coalition government with it despite NC and Congress extending unconditional support to PDP at that time. He alleged that PDP is now C team of BJP in the electoral fray.


NC Vice President is alleging that Mehbooba could not say anything when in parliament she was asked by speaker to speak. “ She started laughing and could not say anything except for maen kia bolon,” he said.

The PDP leaders are hitting back saying that NC’s sitting MPs did not say anything in parliament against the abrogation of Article 370 since 2019.

As the campaigning will move towards the peak such statements will get louder. But it is finally the voters who have to decide for whom to vote and for whom not to. That is the essence of democracy. 

Author is senior editor, Greater Kashmir

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