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Congress may not repeat its 2008 performance in Jammu, say people
10/23/2013 11:26:32 PM
Early Times Report
Jammu, Oct 23: The JKPCC has been asserting day in and day out that the Congress would either form the next government in Jammu & Kashmir on its own or form it in alliance with other political party (read NC or PDP). The JKPCC has been consistently claiming that the Congress will emerge very strong in all the three regions of the state - Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.
It is difficult to say if the Congress would improve its position in Kashmir despite the fact that the Congress-led UPA Government's policy towards Jammu & Kashmir is almost similar to that the NC and similar other Kashmir-based outfits, including the so-called mainstream parties. Right now, the Congress is represented in the assembly by three lawmakers from Kashmir, all Cabinet Ministers. They have been winning from their respective constituencies not because of the Congress party and its ideology, they have been winning on their own strength. There is hardly another Congress leader in Kashmir who can take on the NC and the PDP. Kashmir elects 46 members. Similar is the story of Ladakh that returns just four members to the assembly. The Congress can repeat its 2008 performance by winning one seat in Leh district. It can certainly spring a surprise this time by winning a seat in Kargil district because of some local factors, including the widening gulf between the local people and the Valley-centric NC. In other words, the Congress is not likely to win more than half a dozen seats out of 50 in Kashmir province of which Ladakh is also part administratively.
It is Jammu that matters much for the Congress. The Jammu province elects 37 lawmakers and it is represented by 11 Congress lawmakers in the assembly as of now. It is Jammu which would make or mar the electoral prospects of the Congress in the upcoming elections. Now, the question to be asked is: Will the people of Jammu province vote for the Congress? It is difficult to make prediction at this point in time. However, it can be said that the people of this province are not at all happy with the Congress. This is what the prevailing political situation in the province suggests. There is general consensus among the people of the province that the Congress has "failed" Jammu and "bartered its interests to keep the NC leadership in good humour". To make their point, they say that the "Congress has harmed Jammu more than the NC by endorsing the NC's anti-Jammu policies" and that "there is not a single instance to indicate that the Congress has ever fought for the Jammu's genuine cause". They also say that the "Congress may win a few seats in Ramban, Doda and Kishtwar districts in case Ghulam Nabi Azad lead the election campaign and three to four seats in the remaining seven districts of the Jammu province". To be more exact, they say that "it would be the Congress's most splendid victory if it succeeds in retaining control over the 11 constituencies it at present holds".
If the Congress has to improve its poll prospects in Jammu province, it has to work very hard. It has to fulfill all the poll promises, including the promise that it would establish regional council in Jammu in case the Congress came to power in 2008. But it would be too much to say that the Congress would do that. "How could a party which has failed to make the NC empower the panchayats could make the NC amend the state constitution to establish the promised regional council? This is the question the people put. All in all, it can be said that the Congress is not standing on a strong wicket and the Congress is itself responsible for the prevailing state of affairs in Jammu province.
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