File photo of different leaders of the Gupkar Alliance (Image credit: Outlook India)

Setback to BJP in Jammu, Gupkar Alliance sweeps Kashmir Valley

The Gupkar Alliance of seven mainstream parties has emerged as the largest single group to be followed by the Bharatiya Janata Party in the just concluded election for the 280 seats in District Development Council election in Jammu and Kashmir. Out of total 20 districts, 13 would be controlled by Gupkar Alliance and Congress, and only six by the BJP.

The Gupkar Alliance, whose main constituents are National Conference of Farooq Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party of Mehbooba Mufti, got 110 seats, mostly in the Kashmir Valley.

The BJP won 74 seats, most of them in the Jammu region. It won three in Kashmir Valley too.

The Congress surprisingly performed much better than expectation and bagged 26 seats. The good performance of the Congress checked the BJP which was early expected to do much better in the Jammu region.

In the Jammu region in six out of 10 districts the BJP won majority while in the rest four, Congress and other parties managed to win. In Kashmir Valley Gupkar Alliance registered victory in nine out of 10 districts.

This was the first such election of its kind in the new Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir to take place after the scrapping of Article 370 on August 5.

Though the BJP leaders are putting up a brave front in private they are somewhat surprised by the revival of the Congress in the Jammu region, otherwise considered as the bastion of the saffron party. The BJP, which did very well in the last Assembly election held in 2014, fared poorly in Poonch, Ramban, Rajouri and Kishtwar districts.

The setback to the BJP in the Jammu division clearly indicates that though the voters of this part of the Union Territory might have in good number endorsed the abrogation of Article 370 and 35(A) of the Constitution, but have strong objections to the way things are being handled after August 5 last year. The loss of tourism and virtual lockdown since August 5, 2019—not March 24, 2020 as in rest of India due to corona virus–has greatly affected the economy of Jammu as well.

Even the Gupkar Alliance failed to perform very well in Srinagar as a large number of seats in the city were won by independents.

While the National Conference leader Omar Abdullah sees a ray of hope in this election, he charged that the BJP left no stone unturned to prevent the Gupkar Alliance leaders to campaign. The NC leader whose party won 67 seats alone is however not very hopeful of early Assembly election as, according to him, the BJP has performed badly.

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