Party leaders say it has held its ground in Jammu, apart from opening its account in Kashmir Valley
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday seemed to be upbeat after holding its ground in Jammu and having opened its account in the Kashmir valley as the results of the District Development Council (DDC) elections started pouring in. While the Congress and the National Conference (NC) also did decently well in Jammu, senior BJP leaders felt that the party had managed to hold its ground, even if its performance in areas like the Chenab Valley was not to its satisfaction.
Party leaders were more vocal about the (at the time of writing) four seats that the BJP won the Kashmir valley, in the districts of Pulwama, Bandipora and Srinagar. “Lotus blooms in Kashmir, Aijaz Hussain won from Khanmoh II, Srinagar,” said a congratulatory tweet from the BJP’s Jammu and Kashmir handle.
“The BJP and the National Conference, in our view, are the two gainers from the polls. Where earlier in the valley, we wouldn’t get a single person to hold the BJP flag, we managed to win three seats (at the time of writing),” said a leader involved in the State.
Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur, in-charge of the polls on behalf of the party, and Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Dr. Jitendra Singh, who is an MP from Jammu, left Delhi for Jammu as soon as the results started trickling in, for post-result work. Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Thakur termed the results, despite the sweep of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) in the Kashmir valley and the NC retaining some pockets of influence in Jammu, as “a victory for democracy and development”.
“People have shown faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision for development and [said] ‘no’ to terrorism and separatism. We also feel that the next generation of second rung leadership that these elections have thrown up across party lines and among independents bodes well for the development of grassroots democracy,” he said.
Senior party leaders also tried to find small slivers of a silver lining in the sweep of the valley by the PAGD, which, not to put too fine a point on it, is a vote sentiment against Delhi. “While we did see huge local level tie ups in the PAGD to defeat the BJP, the National Conference has far outstripped the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) within the Gupkar alliance, which will have its own repercussions for the alliance. And while the point that the failure of the new, more Delhi-friendly Apni Party shows that its not a sentiment that favours Delhi, the NC’s good performance is a good omen for a less hardline valley politics, looking at the party’s history,” said a senior office bearer in the BJP in Delhi.
“In any case, the fact that such results have come shows that the poll process was free and fair and participation by the voters showed faith in democratic institutions,” said another leader.