BJP Analyzes Vote Share Dip in Jammu Assembly Segments: Gujjar Community Discontent

Time to focus on Vidhan Sabha poll
After a phenomenal performance in the Lok Sabha poll, the time has come to focus on the upcoming Assembly poll as the announcement of its schedule is on the cards. The Election Commission can declare the dates for poll any day now. — Kavinder Gupta, BJP leader & former dy CM

The BJP has started the process to scrutinise the reasons for its poor show in several Assembly segments of Jammu region during the recently held Lok Sabha poll, even as its two candidates were able to retain their seats and win their third consecutive terms.

The party high command has asked the J&K unit of the party, led by Ravinder Raina, to ascertain the reasons behind dip in the winning margin of the two candidates — Jitendra Singh from Udhampur and Jugal Kishore Sharma from Jammu Lok Sabha seats, respectively. Even the non-BJP candidates supported by the saffron party were not able to perform well, especially in the Anantnag constituency, which include Rajouri and Poonch districts of Jammu.

The BJP-led Centre had granted Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to the Pahari speaking people of Rajouri and Poonch and was expecting their support in the election.

While Apni Party candidate Zafar Iqbal Manhas, who had the backing of the BJP, was able to secure the votes of Pahari population in some Assembly segments of Anantnag, the Gujjar population strongly voted in favour NC’s Mian Altaf, who won the poll. It was expected that the Gujjars would vote against the BJP as they believed that quota meant for them had been given to Paharis.

In certain areas of Udhampur and Jammu LS, the BJP nominees trailed behind the Congress candidates in vote tally. The saffron party witnessed setbacks, especially in Muslim-dominated areas of these constituencies, a development which is now giving nightmares to the local unit of the party, which has already started preparing for the Assembly poll to be held by September 30.

Jitendra Singh had got 51.28 per cent votes against 61.38 per cent in 2019, while Jugal Kishore Sharma got 53.46 per cent votes this time, against 58.02 per cent in the 2019 election. The Election Commission has indicated that it would conduct the Assembly elections in J&K as per the directions of the Supreme Court, which had asked the poll body to conduct poll before September 30.

In the Udhampur seat, Congress candidate Choudhary Lal Singh was able to secure more votes that the saffron party in Inderwal, Bhaderwah, Doda and Banihal Assembly segments. Lal Singh was also supported by the PDP and NC in Udhampur, and both of these parties did not field candidates to avoid division of votes. The BJP led in 14 of 18 Assembly segments in Udhampur.

It has been learnt that the saffron part is already in discussion with the local leaders of the district to increase the percentage of vote share in the Assembly poll. In the Jammu Lok Sabha seat, BJP’s Jugal Kishore Sharma led in 15 of 18 Assembly constituencies. The party did not perform well in Jammu East, Nagrota, Ramgarh and Bahu segments, even as they are Hindu-dominated. Senior BJP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta recently asked party workers to intensify efforts and concentrate on winning the upcoming Assembly poll.

Gupta said: “After a phenomenal performance in the Lok Sabha poll, the time has come to focus on the upcoming Assembly poll as the announcement of its schedule is on the cards and the Election Commission can declare the dates any day now.”

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