With parliamentary polls only a few months away, some of the political parties have started revealing their plans to people. The other parties are taking their time to make their decisions public and are currently engaged in party level discussions and related preparations.
Chairman Democratic Progressive Azad Party ( DPAP) Ghulam Nabi Azad declared that his party will field candidates in all the five constituencies. BJP too has made a similar announcement and some leaders of Apni Party have been also saying that their party too will contest on all the five seats.
Three major parties National Conference (NC), Congress and PDP are yet to open their cards. They are part of the opposition's I.N.D.I.A bloc at national level, which is intending to jointly contest the parliament polls against BJP but are yet to reach a broad consensus and seat sharing arrangement. Going by the present indications the chances of a seat sharing arrangement at the national level among the major opposition parties are looking remote because of their serious differences with each other on the issue.
Even then efforts are on by some quarters to build some kind of consensus. Bahujan Samajwadi Party ( BSP) leader Mayawati has announced that her party will not be part of any electoral alliance and will contest Lok Sabha polls on its own.
According to her, the electoral interests of BSP can get marred in an alliance. The party had also taken part in the recent assembly polls in some states in the Hindi belt. BSP's rival parties alleged that its contesting assembly polls separately caused further division in the already divided opposition votes and ensured victory of BJP at a number of seats where it could not have won.
The absence of an alliance between Akhilesh Yadav led Samajwadi Party and Congress in these elections had also led to opposition losing seats, which otherwise were being considered in their pocket. If the scene continues like this in Lok Sabha polls also then opposition can lose most of whatever it is holding right now. Political analysts say that BJP while consolidating its own position ensures that there is division of votes in the opposition camp. A divided opposition helps the BJP in polls.
Congress is losing command and authority in I.N.D.I.A bloc because of its back to back defeats mainly in the highly important Hindi belt assembly polls. Seeing a demoralised Congress unable to recover and re-strengthen itself, other opposition parties (regional) wish to contest on their own the Lok Sabha polls without forging an alliance. Whatever be the fate of the opposition bloc in coming times, but Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) is showing keenness to contest Lok Sabha polls in J&K through an alliance with NC and PDP.
But will that alliance be possible when NC and PDP have already almost made up their mind to contest separately on Srinagar, Baramulla and Anantnag-Poonch- Rajouri seats and have not yet made their intentions formally public? In absence of a seat sharing arrangement with Congress, NC may like even to contest the Jammu and Udhampur seats as well.
While the final decision of these major parties regarding any seat sharing arrangement, if any, will become clear in coming time, the fielding of candidates by the parties in the coming election will also be of more interest among the political circles.
This is because of the redrawing of the boundaries of the five Lok Sabha constituencies during the delimitation exercise. Some parties feel they have been put to a disadvantage with the exercise and they will have to choose their candidates judiciously to ensure victory. More interesting is the scenario in Anantnag -Poonch and Rajouri constituency.
Fielding a right candidate will also be a tricky matter for the major parties to get maximum votes and try to emerge victorious. Can the changes, made during the delimitation exercise, make the parties to change the pattern in fielding their respective candidates for the Anantnag - Poonch- Rajouri constituency this time.
Earlier, the Anantnag parliamentary constituency consisted of the south Kashmir districts - Pulwama, Shopian, Anantnag and Kulgam. The parties would field candidates there like they used to do in other two constituencies of Kashmir - Srinagar and Baramulla. Now during delimitation a major portion of south Kashmir was cut from Anantnag Lok Sabha seat and merged with Srinagar constituency.
The remaining Anantnag constituency was merged with parts of Poonch and Rajouri districts, which were earlier part of the Jammu Lok Sabha constituency. Given the changes, the chances of the political parties fielding their leaders from Gujjar and Bakerwal and Pahari communities as candidates in the constituency have brightened. Since the constituency has good population of Gujjar and Bakerwal and Paharis, the parties may like to get their support by giving representation to their leaders from their communities.
Among the parties, National Conference and Congress have some such prominent faces. They have been in the politics for long and known for the good work they did for all people while in the government. The leaders have a very strong base in their communities as well. Will PDP also like to field a candidate from Gujjar and Bakerwal and Paharis communities there? This too is to be seen.
On the other side, BJP is also eyeing on the Anantnag - Poonch- Rajouri seat. After the Paharis get the schedule tribe status during parliament session next month, this will also give an edge to the party.
Right now the parties in Kashmir are busy with their preparations for Lok Sabha polls and finalising their candidates. There is a slight pause in their rallies and public meetings on large scale which were witnessed throughout last year .The pause may be the parties had not planned such activities in winter keeping in view the usual snowfall and freezing cold.
The snowfall did not occur till now this winter taking everybody including the politicians by surprise. Some political activities on smaller scale are going on here and there. It is being expected that the activities will gain further momentum after the Republic Day and if the weather conditions permit. Till that time the parties will also get time to think about the hectic preparations and the possible candidates.