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Lok Sabha Elections 2024: BJP and NC score 2 seats each in J&K; one for jailed independent candidate

Two former chief ministers of J&K—Omar Abdullah of NC and Mehbooba Mufti of People’s Democratic Party (PDP)—lost from north Kashmir’s Baramulla and southern Anantnag constituencies, respectively.
Last Updated : 04 June 2024, 17:13 IST
Last Updated : 04 June 2024, 17:13 IST

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Srinagar: As the BJP maintained its winning streak in the Jammu region for the third consecutive term, the National Conference (NC), which had won all three seats in Kashmir in the previous election, managed to secure only two seats in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Two former chief ministers of J&K—Omar Abdullah of NC and Mehbooba Mufti of People’s Democratic Party (PDP)—lost from north Kashmir’s Baramulla and southern Anantnag constituencies, respectively.

Omar lost to jailed independent candidate Sheikh Abdul Rashid aka Engineer Rashid by a huge margin of 2,04,142 votes, while Mehbooba was defeated by NC’s influential tribal leader Mian Altaf Ahmad by 2,81,749 votes.

Rashid (56), a former MLA from the Langate assembly segment in Kupwara district, was arrested in 2019 and charged by the NIA under UAPA. He has been lodged in Delhi’s Tihar jail since then. His campaign was run by his son, 24-year-old Abrar, who thanked people for their “love and support.”

In Srinagar LS seat, NC’s influential Shia leader Syed Aga Ruhullah defeated PDP’s youth leader Waheed-ur-Rehman Parra by a margin of 1,88,416 votes.

On the other hand, the BJP demonstrated its stronghold in the Jammu region, as it retained both the parliamentary seats in the region with a comfortable margin.

Union Minister Jitendra Singh defeated Congress candidate Choudhary Lal Singh in the Udhampur LS seat by a margin of 1,24,373 votes, while Jugal Kishor Sharma beat Raman Bhalla of Congress in the Jammu constituency by 1,31,540 votes.

The lone LS seat in Ladakh went to independent candidate Haji Hanifa, a Kargil resident who won with a margin of over 27,000 votes. In Ladakh, the BJP had replaced its incumbent MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal with Tashi Gyalson.

This was the first major election in the region after the abrogation of Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

The BJP's campaign, spearheaded by senior leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, emphasised national security, development projects, and the abrogation of Article 370 as a means of integrating J&K more closely with the rest of the country.

The PDP, once a significant player in the region's politics, continued to struggle, failing to secure any seats. Similarly, the Congress faced an uphill battle, unable to make significant inroads in either of the two regions.

The election results reflect the enduring political divide between the two regions of the Union Territory, underscoring the distinct socio-political landscapes of the two areas. While the NC's victory in Kashmir highlights the region's desire for greater autonomy and protection of local identity, the BJP's success in Jammu points to a preference for integration with the national mainstream and a focus on development.

Political analysts suggest that these results, almost similar to 2019, indicate a clear mandate from the people, reinforcing the regional political dynamics. The NC's grip on the Valley and the BJP's dominance in Jammu are expected to shape the region's political discourse in the coming years.

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Published 04 June 2024, 17:13 IST

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