BJP surges in Valley, slips in Jammu lost 51% of its vote within city of temples

Even as the BJP made inroads into several parts of the Kashmir valley owing to the poll boycott call by the two regional parties, it failed to retain its hold over Jammu areas. The party won a majority in 18 of the 79 municipalities across the state and the Congress 10.

Voting was not held in 27 civic bodies in the Valley either because there was no candidate or only one had filed nominations for a ward.

Of the total 1,145 wards across the state, elections were held for 716, with 244 candidates elected unopposed while there was none for 185 wards. The BJP won 312 wards and the Congress 267. The BJP won 12 civic bodies, including the Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) and six municipalities in the Valley — Shopian, Devsar, Mattan, Pahalgam, Qazigund and Watergam.
Though the saffron party won the prestigious JMC, bagging 43 of the total 75 wards, it failed to retain its hold in Kathua, Udhampur, Reasi and the erstwhile Doda district comprising Ramban, Doda and Kishtwar.

In Kathua district, the BJP managed to get a majority in only Hiranagar, winning seven of the 13 seats. Kathua district is seen as a BJP citadel. The party had won all five Assembly seats in this district in 2014. It was owing to a substantial lead from this district that the BJP had won the Udhampur-Doda Lok Sabha seat. The party did not win a single seat in the Kalakote municipality even though the BJP MLA from Kalakote served as a minister in the PDP-BJP government for more than three years.

Despite the BJP losing ground, the Congress failed to perform well, winning a majority in only three municipalities — Jourian, Thanamandi and Banihal.

The BJP suffered a jolt in Kishtwar, bagging only one of the total 13 seats.

Notwithstanding tall claims of the BJP, the results of the urban local bodies have sent warning signals to the saffron party, as it has lost a whopping 51 per cent of its vote share in three Assembly constituencies of Jammu city.
Not only the party has failed to maintain its dominance in Samba, Kathua, Udhampur, Doda and Reasi districts, BJP’s vote share came down drastically in the Jammu city, which is considered as the citadel of the saffron brigade.

As per official data, in the 2014 Assembly elections, the BJP had secured 1,48,081 votes in three Assembly segments of Jammu city — Gandhi Nagar, Jammu (East) and Jammu (West). But in the urban local bodies elections, the party’s vote share came down to 72,503 votes, which was 75,578 less than the Assembly polls and 51 per cent less than the 2014 vote share.

In the 63 wards of the prestigious Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC), which fall under three Assembly segments of Jammu city, the BJP has secured 72,503 votes.

In the 2014 Assembly polls, it had 69,627 votes in Jammu (West), 56,679 in Gandhi Nagar and 21,776 in Jammu (East) Assembly segments, respectively. In the civic elections, the BJP has secured 34,013, 30,058 and 8,432 votes, respectively, in Jammu (West), Gandhi Nagar and Jammu (East) Assembly segments.

The failure of the BJP to maintain its vote share in Jammu city and outskirts has sent a warning signal to the party ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections because three Assembly segments had ensured party’s victory on the Jammu-Poonch Lok Sabha seat in the 2014 parliamentary elections.

In Kathua and Udhampur districts, the BJP has failed to repeat its 2014 performance in the civic elections. The party has managed to get a majority in only Hiranagar, winning seven of 13 seats, but in all other municipalities, the party has failed to attain majority. Kathua and Udhampur districts are seen as BJP citadels.

Warning signs
In the 2014 Assembly elections, the BJP had secured 1,48,061 votes in three Assembly segments of Jammu city
In the civic elections, it has got 72,503 votes in three segments of Jammu city
It has secured 75,578 votes less than the 2014 elections