For the first time, BJP vote doubles in Kashmir valley

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) may have lost all the three Lok Sabha seats in Kashmir, but the saffron party, for the first time, led in one assembly segment in the region and also doubled the number of votes it polled in the Valley.

The BJP managed to get the highest number of votes in the Tral assembly segment of Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency. Only 1,019 votes were polled in Tral due to the separatists’ boycott call, of which BJP candidate Sofi Yousuf got 323 votes, followed by National Conference nominee Hasnain Masoodi (234), PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti (220) and Congress candidate Ghulam Ahmad Mir (144).

The Tral assembly segment was represented by PDP’s Mushtaq Shah before the assembly was dissolved last year.

BJP legislator and party strategist for Kashmir, Surinder Amberdar, said the Lok Sabha polls showed the party’s expanding footprints in the Valley. “This is for the first time that the BJP has managed to lead in any assembly segment in the Kashmir valley. For us, this is a very encouraging sign,” he said.

“This time, our party got over 22,000 votes, more than double of 10,000 votes it bagged in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections,” he said.

Amberdar said the BJP would emerge as the single largest party in the state assembly elections.

“If there is again a boycott call during in the assembly elections in Kashmir, the party has a chance of winning some seats in the Valley,” he added.

BJP’s state spokesman Altaf Thakur, who is also the sarpanch of Dadsara Tral, said the party had made good inroads into Kashmir.

“For the first time since the BJP started working in Kashmir, our party has managed to secure lead in one assembly segment of Tral. We could have got more votes but the killing of the BJP vice-president in Anantnag ahead of polls created fear among our voters,” he said.

BJP leaders said the state leadership had prepared a roadmap for winning seats in the valley with the help of its workers, migrant voters and boycott of separatists. “The migrant voters always vote for us,” said a senior BJP leader.

Of the 13,537 migrant votes polled in Anantnag, Baramulla and Srinagar constituencies, BJP candidates bagged 11,648. The overall vote share of the BJP was 8.19% in Anantnag, 2.48% in Srinagar and 1.73% in Baramulla.

First Published:
May 27, 2019 13:52 IST

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