As per the agreement, Congress will contest 17 seats, while Samajwadi Party and other INDIA alliance partners will contest the remaining 63 seats.
The mainstream regional and national political parties are trying to persuade the separatists and local terrorists not to give their usual poll boycott call in the Kashmir Valley that might benefit the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections.
The separatists and terror outfits have in the past been calling for the boycott of the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections as a result of which the polling percentage has remained very poor.
Leaders of the National Conference (NC), PDP and various other political parties are reported to have made efforts to persuade the separatists not to give the poll boycott call this time to thwart the efforts of the BJP to take the benefit of the nearly 1 lakh Kashmiri Hindu migrants and also the separatist turned politician Sajad Lone’s People Conference in case of poor percentage of polling.
As a strategy to prevent the division of their votes, the NC and PDP have not fielded their candidates against the Congress on both Lok Sabha seats of the Jammu division. The BJP had benefitted even in the Muslim dominated areas of the Doda, Kishtwar, Rajouri and Poonch districts in the Assembly elections of 2014 when their votes got divided and several BJP candidates emerged victorious.
A Kashmiri Pandit, Raman Mattoo, who contested the Assembly election for Srinagar’s downtown Habbakadal seat as an independent in 2002, won while sitting 300 km away in Jammu by polling a meagre 587 votes of migrants.
Leaders of the NC, PDP, Congress, CPI (M) and other parties were probably apprehensive that the migrants might play spoilsport if the polling percentage remained low. A silent campaign for heavy turnout during polling for the three seats in the valley is going on to “defeat Modi”.
The Election Commission has decided to set up separate polling booths for the 99,143 Kashmiri migrants in Delhi, Jammu and Udhampur.
Ashwani Chrungoo, BJP’s state spokesman on Kashmir affairs, said that the migrants would play a significant role in these Lok Sabha elections, particularly on the Srinagar and Anantnag seats.
It is worth mentioning that the Modi government at the centre had recently increased the monthly financial assistance to the migrants and also earmarked government jobs for them.