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Jammu and Kashmir gears up for first Lok Sabha elections in 2024, post Article 370 repeal

Jammu and Kashmir gears up for its first Lok Sabha election post-Article 370 revocation, with significant shifts in constituency boundaries and party dynamics. The BJP and PDP are contesting fiercely, while the National Conference opts for independent candidacy in Kashmir. Ghulam Nabi Azad's entry adds further intrigue. Developmental strides and high voter turnout mark the post-370 scenario.

Jammu and Kashmir gears up for first Lok Sabha elections in 2024, post Article 370 repeal vkp
First Published Apr 17, 2024, 11:54 AM IST

Jammu and Kashmir gears up for its first Lok Sabha election after the revocation of Article 370, which previously granted special status to the region. This election carries particular significance as it marks a new era for the state following its reorganization and the emergence of Ladakh as a separate union territory.

Formerly containing six constituencies, Jammu and Kashmir now stand at five, with Ladakh being recognized independently. This reshuffling has sparked interest nationwide, especially given the developmental strides witnessed in the region over the past five years.

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How is the battle?

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has unveiled candidates for two constituencies in the Jammu region, while the People's Democratic Party (PDP) has announced its intention to contest in all five constituencies. Notably, the National Conference has declared its candidacy in three Kashmir constituencies, ceding two Jammu seats to the Congress. Additionally, former Congress stalwart Ghulam Nabi Azad has formed his party and will vie for the Anantnag constituency.

With three sitting MPs, the BJP asserts its presence in the state. However, there is speculation surrounding its Kashmir strategy, with indications suggesting it may not field candidates in the region, opting to support allies instead. This decision potentially paves the way for direct contests between the BJP, Congress, and PDP in Jammu, while the likelihood of a coalition with the National Conference appears tiny.

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The electoral landscape further evolves with the dynamics of alliances. Initially, an alliance comprising the PDP, National Conference, and Congress seemed apparent. However, the National Conference's decision to contest independently in Kashmir, alongside PDP's unilateral candidacy declaration, has blurred alliance lines. While technically allied, both parties field separate candidates in the three Kashmir constituencies, with the National Conference allocating two Jammu seats to the Congress. Adding to the electoral mix is the independent candidacy of Ghulam Nabi Azad, disillusioned with the Congress's decisions. 

The post-Article 370 scenario has seen an end to terror activities, paving the way for developmental initiatives. This shift is exemplified by the enthusiastic voter turnout, notably evidenced by 92 per cent participation in senior citizens' home voting during the initial phase. Anticipating increased voter engagement, the decision to allocate separate voting days for each constituency streamlines campaign efforts and may bolster turnout.

'J&K witnessed renewed hope, progress post Article 370 revocation': PM Modi tells Newsweek

State: Jammu & Kashmir
Seats: 5
Stages: 5

Key areas: Jammu, Srinagar, Anantnag, Udhampur, Baramulla

Elections in Jammu and Kashmir will be held immediately after Lok Sabha polls, says CEC

Key candidates: 
Omar Abdullah (NC), Mehbooba Mufti (PDP), Jitendra Singh (BJP), Ghulam Nabi Azad (DPAP), Raman Bhalla (Congress)

Result of 2019: Party constituency percentage

In the 2019 elections, the BJP won three constituencies with almost 47% of the votes. The Congress got around 28% of the votes but didn't win any seats. The National Conference won three seats too, with about 8% of the total votes.

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