Election Observations

An overview of Parliamentary Election 2014 in Kashmir…

Elections in Kashmir are always influenced in one way or the other and particularly during the last more than two decades elections have become more and more controversial. Earlier people were elected unopposed in large numbers out of goodwill and conviction but later on at one occasion a substantial number of state legislative assembly members of a particular political party were declared elected simply by coercing the opponents. Blemished by boycott strategy of separatists and other rightwing groups and pro-election coercing by so-called mainstream political parties elections in Kashmir had always been a disgusting affair. In a civilized and reasonably empowered society elections are the essence of democracy but here elections and its participation quotient are used as barometers of integration and political wellness in Kashmir. Less we talk of this murky elections process in Kashmir, better it is. Still, analyzing the present election in the context of changing political equations and evolving political landscape seems a very interesting subject; interesting, because it is going to throw big political surprises of crumbling  alliances and new political marriages regardless of political faith and belief.

In the absence of any professional qualification as an election expert or a psephologist my views are purely based on the observations and analysis of the mood of common man and the emerging political situation in Kashmir in the backdrop of fast changing national and international political scenario. The earlier phases of electioneering where Anantnag and Srinagar parliamentary constituencies went to polls the election cannot be termed as unusual, except the death of two young people who became victim of political dissonance there was very little political maneuvering and everything went as per the script. In some pockets the whip of coalition dharma was issued but it did not go well with the cadres and very little change can be expected on account of unholy alliances. Not giving a fig to core issue of Kashmir conflict or issues related to common-man and instead using the inconsequential exploitative political agenda as election strategy this election turned murkier. So, anti-incumbency and charisma of political persons will be the most vital aspects in deciding the fate of these two constituencies.     
 The final stage of elections in Jammu and Kashmir State where elections for Baramulla and Ladakh parliamentary constituencies were held on 7th of May was bizarre in many ways. Huge number of voters exercised their franchise in specific areas of Baramulla constituency and on the other hand a large number of voters said a big ‘No’ to elections in the rest of the constituency. And at the end of the day the conflicting fallout of visible ‘Yes’ and  a clear cut ‘No’ in different parts of constituency was not only shameful but proved divisive and will have its long-lasting impact on the social fabric of the area. If we turn the pages of history north Kashmir since ages has always borne the brunt of every incursion, be it political, social or military.
Unfortunately this time round the region has been pushed into a deep socio-political vortex of political sectarianism through manipulative electioneering and subsequent flawed elections, where the vibrant political energy of people of the region has been exploited to create a dishonorable wedge between the people.  Interestingly, after all this madness, no matter what was the electoral participation or voting pattern the north will surely throw a big surprise. Because of multi-cornered fight and political equation stemming from failed opportunistic coalitions and happenings of turncoat politics the results will be completely out of context and beyond traditional outcome— either a loss or a win, but with a narrow margin.