LS polls: Jammu won’t be a cakewalk for Congress

Srinagar: The Congress may be expecting to win both Lok Sabha seats from Jammu region in upcoming elections, but if the previous polls are an indicator, the party would face stiff competition from Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
While the PDP has shown increase of 8.11 per cent in its vote share during last two Lok Sabha polls in the state, the BJP in addition to an impressive performance in previous two elections when compared to main regional parties is believed to emerge much stronger after the introduction of the Modi factor.
According to figures of Election Commission of India, PDP with a vote share of 11.94 per cent in 2004 Lok Sabha elections and 20.05 per cent in 2009 elections had emerged as the lone party in the state showing an increase in vote share during the last two elections. The party is also believed to have made its position strong in Poonch and Rajouri.
The BJP may have shown a decrease in its vote share during the 2004 and 2009 elections, but when compared to main regional parties, the party has shown better results.
The BJP had bagged 23.04 per cent of votes in 2004 elections while National Conference (NC), the biggest regional party in the state, had received 22.02 per cent of votes.
In the 2009 elections, the margin between BJP and NC in terms of reception of votes was not so wide; the BJP had received 18.61 per cent of votes as compared to 19.11 percent of votes received by NC.
When compared to PDP, the BJP was far ahead in 2004 polls, but in 2009 the PDP raced ahead of BJP with a slight margin of 1.5 percent of votes.
In 2004 elections, the BJP emerged as runners-up on two seats while contesting from all the six constituencies in the state. However, it contested from only four seats in 2009 and was number two.
While the Congress, despite bagging major vote share in previous two elections had registered a decrease of 3.16 per cent in its vote share. The party had received 27.83 per cent of votes in 2004 and 24.67 per cent in 2009.
In the upcoming Lok Sabha Polls, the BJP is believed to give stiff competition to Congress in Jammu region, which is banking on its Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. Modi addressed a huge public rally in Jammu on December 1 last year and is scheduled to address another election meeting in Jammu on March 26.
This has forced Congress to nominate senior party leader and Health Minister, Government of India, Ghulam Nabi Azad to contest elections from Kathua-Udhampur-Doda constituency. Azad enjoys strong support base in Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban districts. The party is repeating with sitting MP Madan Lal Sharma from Jammu-Poonch constituency.
“We are confident that we will win both the seats in Jammu. We are also hopeful of Ladakh seat also. Modi Ji’s visit to Jammu will help the party to woo more voters,” BJP’s media secretary for J&K Balveer Ram Rattan told Kashmir Reader.
The upcoming 16th Lok Sabha elections would be held in the six Parliamentary constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir on five days—
April 10 (Jammu), April 17 (Udhampur), April 24 (Anantnag), April 30 (Srinagar) and May 7 (Baramulla and Ladakh).
According to ECI, the polling will be held at 9,633 polling stations spread across 7,346 polling station locations, and out of the state’s 69,33,118 electors as on February 17, 2014, 30.74 per cent are in the age group 18–29 while women constitute 47.24 per cent voters.