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Voters will end domination of National Conference, PDP in Kashmir: BJP

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NewsDrum Desk
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New Delhi, May 12 (PTI) The BJP may not be contesting any of the three Lok Sabha seats in Kashmir but the party is confident that the elections in the Valley will end the domination of the National Conference and People's Democratic Party in the region.

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A day before Srinagar goes to the polls, BJP national general secretary Tarun Chugh claimed on Monday that the Narendra Modi government's development initiatives following the abrogation of Article 370 coupled with peace in the region have ensured that people are looking beyond family-run parties like the two regional outfits besides the Congress.

"These parties are responsible for all the turmoil Jammu and Kashmir went through right from the 90s when terrorism erupted and lakhs of Kashmiri Pandits had to flee their homes.

"People know that be it the PDP, NC or the Congress, their concerns are not the priority of these parties as they only want to perpetuate their family rule," said Chugh, who is overseeing his party's campaign in the region besides in Ladakh and Telangana.

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The Congress had jailed NC founder Sheikh Abdullah for over two decades but his son and grandson, Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, have joined hands with the same party, he said, adding that this underlines their "hunger for power and desperation".

Asked why the BJP is not contesting any of the three seats in the Valley, he said the party has been able to strike a chord with people with the works of the Centre and has exposed the entrenched political parties.

Sources said the BJP believes that its best hopes lie in a good performance by former minister Altaf Bukhari-led JK Apni Party and Sajad Lone's JK People's Conference as the demographics of the Muslim-majority Valley are not very suited to the party.

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It is the first major election in Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, in August 2019. Nearly 17.48 lakh electorate are eligible to vote in the election to the prestigious Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency and 24 candidates are in the fray.

Two other Kashmir seats, Baramulla and Anantnag-Rajouri, are headed for the polls in the fifth and sixth phases on May 20 and May 25 respectively.

PDP leader and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti is contenting from Anantnag-Rajouri, while NC's Omar Abdullah, also a former CM, is in the fray from Baramulla.

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Chugh said, "We are sure that the NC, PDP and the Congress will not get people's support. They have built their politics over dead bodies." He also expressed confidence that the BJP will continue its winning streak in Ladakh, where it has fielded Tashi Gyalson in place of sitting MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal.

Asked about the party's prospects in Telangana, where polling will be held on all 17 Lok Sabha seats on Monday, he said the party will ride the popular support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to emerge as the biggest party in the southern state.

The BJP had won four seats in 2019, its best-ever show, in the state, but the Congress' victory in the recent assembly polls and the perceived decline in the fortunes of the BRS, which ruled the state for 10 years and had won nine seats last time, has added an element of uncertainty to conventional equations.

Chugh claimed that the recent remarks of Chief Minister Revanth Reddy on the Pulwama terror attack have not gone down well with voters, and the Congress will pay a price for it. The BJP has also accused Reddy of questioning the air strikes following the terror attack. PTI KR RT RT

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