Local bodies elections – an analysis

In an analytic article, the daily Chattan writes that those who succeeded in getting elected feel happy, though percentage of polling has been low. Many independents also won. For the first time BJP could gain a foothold in these bodies. Well, during last 30 years, NC and PDP won elections, by taking advantage of boycott, and came to power. Now, other groups are following in their footsteps. Though people don’t look at these elections with a favourable view, yet those who were elected will enjoy authority. Surprisingly migrant Kashmiri Pandits did not vote for BJP. Congress and Panthers Party fared well in Jammu.

 Excerpts:

 

BJP Gaining a Foothold:

“The Election Commission has announced the schedule for Panchayat elections. The local bodies elections have been completed and results have come out. The counting of votes took place on Saturday and by noon, the results were announced. The results, as had been expected, were a matter of joy for some quarters. Some parties expressed their happiness over their success. Though many sections have pointed a finger on the elections. However, those who participated in elections were satisfied. Many independent candidates were successful in getting elected. As such, they expect to play an important role in next phases. These elections have historical significance, because for the first time central parties were given freedom to play a role at the basic level without any obstacles or hurdles. The local bodies elections are also significant because for the first time, BJP made a strong political position, and on this basis they say that they got people’s support. But many sections do not agree with this view. They say that the absence of two important political parties, National Conference and PDP, BJP was able to get a mandate. In some wards, just 9 or 10 votes were  cast and the winner was feeling much happy. It can’t be called a big success.“

The Past Experience:

“If the percentage of polling or votes cast is taken into consideration, then any party’s claim of success is not right. Nevertheless, one thing is clear, whosoever won became the power wielding authority in the institution, even if he may have  won only with the help of the votes of his family. You can’t challenge his position as people’s representative and the authority in his ward. During the last three decades, the elections conducted in the state, were on similar lines. National Conference succeeded in getting power. About PDP, it is generally said that it was able to move ahead, after taking advantage of election boycott. Today, the statements, given by these two parties, NC and PDP, are on similar lines that supporters of boycott would give. At that time these parties rejected the statement given about them. Today other parties are moving forward, rejecting their statements. They have learnt the lesson taught by these very parties (NC, PDP). The latest event is that the NC’s president entered Parliament after elections, where polling percentage was less than 2%. Those Parliament by elections were bloody elections.”

Congress and Panthers fared well in Jammu:

“Inspite of that, they raised slogans on the success and celebrated it. Today, BJP, Congress and People Conference have adopted the same strategy. These parties took advantage of the opportunity (boycott), the way PDP and National Conference has been doing. PDP was able to make a base in central Kashmir, because National Conference would suffer loss of votes because of boycott. It is not only NC and PDP leaders who are expressing some reservations on local bodies elections, but  public quarters also don’t have a good opinion about these elections. BJP is celebrating its success in Valley. Though it did not get any substantial support. Party’s candidates, here and there were successful, but failed to get votes of migrant Kashmiri Pandits. The party expected that Pandits would express much support and enthusiasm in favour of its candidate. But that did not happen. Surprisingly, Pandits maintained a distance from BJP. The advantage went to Congress, and Congress candidates showed better performance. Besides, Jammu Municipal Council, wherever there was good polling, Congress and Panther’s Party Candidates were in good position”.

 

[Courtesy: Urdu daily Chattan, Srinagar, Kashmir, October 27, 2018].

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