Can BJP, Congress ensure vote transfer on ground?

The Poonch and Rajouri districts have a sizable population of Gujjar and Bakerwals and Pahari community.
Can BJP, Congress ensure vote transfer on ground?

SRINAGAR: With the last phase of polls in Jammu and Kashmir for Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha seat taking place on May 25, focus lies on two national parties — BJP and Congress — as it remains to be seen whether their workers can ensure 100% voting in favour of the candidates supported by their parties on May 25.

A total of 20 candidates are in the fray from the high stake Anantnag-Rajouri seat but the main contest is between PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti, NC’s Mian Altaf and Apni Party’s Zafar Manhas.

While Altaf has been enjoying the support of Congress, Manhas has the tacit backing of BJP. The Congress has support base and influence in south Kashmir districts of Anantnag and Kulgam and twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region, which, alongwith Shopian district, are part of the Anantnag parliamentary seat.

The BJP has also got some influence in south Kashmir and support base in Poonch and Rajouri. Its influence and support base in the latter areas have increased after the central government granted reservation to the Pahari community.

The Poonch and Rajouri districts have a sizable population of Gujjar and Bakerwals and Pahari community.

With the voter turnout likely to be on the higher side in the high stake seat, every vote counts and every candidate is trying to consolidate the support by reaching out to supporters of even the opponents.

In such a scenario, the focus has especially shifted to Congress and BJP. Though the two parties are not contesting the Anantnag LS polls directly, the two parties are supporting the candidates of their like-minded parties.

“As Altaf is the candidate of India alliance, we have asked our workers to vote for him. We are hopeful that our party workers will vote for Altaf,” said senior J&K Congress leader and former J&K Congress chief Ghulam Ahmed Mir.

However, insiders in Congress said there are chances that some party workers may vote for Mehbooba considering the party’s past rivalry with NC. They said some dissidents in the party may go against the party line and vote for Mehbooba. “However, such numbers will be very less”.

A BJP leader said the party has asked its workers both in south Kashmir districts and Rajouri and Poonch to vote for the bat. The bat is the election symbol of the Apni Party’s Zafar Manhas.

Sources in BJP said the party is aware that there cannot be absolutely 100% transfer of vote in favour of a candidate of like-minded party. BJP’s Pahari leader Mushtaq Bukhari is on record as having said that the Pahari community should vote for Mehbooba. “In politics there always remains uncertainty. There is always a sentiment vote. Now it is upto the voters to decide whom to vote,” a BJP leader said.

Related Stories

No stories found.

The New Indian Express