Weak BJP not fielding candidates from Kashmir: Congress

Congress expressed confidence in the party’s ability to secure victory in the Jammu region’s two seats,..reports Asian Lite News

Jammu and Kashmir Congress chief Vikar Rasool Wani asserted that the BJP’s decision not to field candidates in the Kashmir region’s three Lok Sabha seats reflects its weakness in the area. He expressed confidence in the Congress’s ability to secure victory in the Jammu region’s two seats, affirming that an INDIA bloc government at the Centre would safeguard culture, jobs, and land, restore statehood, and organize assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

In response to BJP’s Jammu and Kashmir unit chief Ravinder Raina’s defense of the decision, Wani dismissed Raina’s justifications as fanciful, labeling him a “Hawa Baaz” (one who builds castles in the air). Wani argued that the BJP lacks a voter base, public support, polling agents, campaign infrastructure, and cadre base in Kashmir, rendering their participation in elections infeasible.

Highlighting perceived disenchantment with the BJP in both Jammu and Kashmir, Wani attributed this to the BJP’s failure to deliver on promises over the past decade, characterizing their efforts as mere token gestures. He contended that the electorate’s dissatisfaction manifested in the first phase of polling in Udhampur, predicting a similar outcome in the Jammu Lok Sabha seat.

Expressing gratitude to the people of Udhampur for their robust participation in the electoral process despite adverse weather conditions, Wani interpreted their engagement as a desire for change and expressed confidence in the Congress’s electoral prospects.

Wani seized upon the theme of change, suggesting a shifting political landscape in the country and criticizing the BJP’s actions regarding Article 370 and the bifurcation of the state into Union Territories. He assured voters of the Congress’s commitment to preserving culture, jobs, and land rights, along with restoring statehood, reinstating the bi-annual Darbar move tradition, scrapping smart electricity meters, and implementing promises outlined in the party manifesto, including farmer loan waivers.

Omar accuses PDP of working for BJP’s benefit

National Conference Vice President and former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Sunday accused the PDP of working for the BJP’s benefit in the Kashmir Valley.

After having dismissed Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP as a “spent force”, he said that the party, by contesting the election against the INDIA bloc in J&K, is benefiting the BJP.

Omar Abdullah also accused the PDP of having joined the INDIA bloc only to get the Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha constituency.

Addressing an election campaign in Anantnag district, he said that the INDIA bloc is fighting the BJP and the alliance is here on this stage. “Those who are not on this stage are trying to benefit the BJP,” he said.

Stressing that his NC has joined the INDIA bloc only to keep the “communal BJP” away, Omar Abdullah said: “It is unfortunate that in this constituency, we are fighting with another member of the alliance. Now we are being accused of being selfish. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, in her speeches every day, says that NC is acting selfishly.”

He noted that both the Congress and M.Y.Tarigami of the CPI-M have also supported the NC candidate in the constituency, and asked the PDP whether they deem both the Congress and the CPI-M as selfish too.

In another election meeting in Pulwama district, which is part of the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat, Omar Abdullah appealed to people to vote for NC candidate Syed Ruhullah Mehdi. He called the Lok Sabha elections as the semi-final and told people that the final (Assembly elections) will also be held by September this year.

Mehbooba Mufti slams Akram over remark

Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party (PDP) President and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday said that Congress should think about their support to the National Conference in Jammu and Kashmir after the leader of the latter Chaudhary Mohammad Akram equated the Congress with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“The statements made by Choudhary Akram while joining JKNC, he said that there is no difference between Congress and BJP. He said BJP is Congress. He is the same Choudhary Akram whose father (Chaudhary Mohammad Aslam) was part of the Congress party. What worse can he say about Congress? I don’t understand how the Congress workers would support the NC. The NC leadership used to refer to Congress workers as ‘gandi naali kay keeday’ (the worms of the gutter). They used to face social boycott,” Mufti told reporters.

She said that it was “unfortunate” that Akram chose to describe the Congress in that manner.

“This is for the Congress workers to think about. They have to support the National Conference (in this election) but they (Akram) are calling them the B team of the BJP,” she added.

Akram joined the National Conference earlier this month and he was elected to the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly on a Congress ticket in the 2014 polls.

Earlier on April 8, the Congress and National Conference announced the seat-sharing agreement for the five constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir and one constituency of Ladakh.

Under the seat-sharing agreement, the Congress will contest from Jammu, Udhampur and Ladakh parliamentary constituencies, while the National Conference will contest from Anantnag-Rajouri, Srinagar and Baramulla Lok Sabha seats.

Polling in Udhampur was held on April 19 (Phase 1), while Jammu, Anantnag-Rajouri, Srinagar, and Baramulla will poll on April 26, May 7, May 13, and May 20.

In 2019, polling for the Lok Sabha was held for six seats in Jammu and Kashmir. However, following the abrogation of Article 370, which resulted in the split of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state into two Union Territories–Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, there is no longer a separate Lok Sabha constituency for Ladakh.

In the 2019 elections, the BJP won three seats while the National Conference won the remaining three.

The elections for 543 Lok Sabha seats will be held in seven phases starting on April 19. The counting of votes has been scheduled for June 4. (ANI)

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