Srinagar, Dec 27: Forthcoming Panchayat polls in Jammu and Kashmir are a litmus test for the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and Bharatiya Janata Party.
Though the elections would be contested on non-partisan basis but the fact is that mostly workers of different political contest these polls and at one of point time they are owned by one or other party.
An analyst while talking to Precious Kashmir said, “These polls will indicate whether PDP and BJP have gained some ground during the past three years or their popularity graph has declined.”
He said, “The sudden announcement made by the Chief Minister about the Panchayat polls took everyone by a surprise. Even the opposition parties have been caught off guard as they know that they would have to regroup to ensure that candidates supported by them win the polls.”
A Kashmir watcher said, “PDP and BJP know it very well that if the candidates fielded by them win the elections they will take the credit but in case if they lose they can easily say that elections were contested on non-partisan basis.”
He said, “Jammu and Kashmir has been suffering losses due to Panchayat polls not being held as the Centre has been withholding funds for different centrally sponsored schemes.”
He said that these polls are politically important for both BJP and PDP. “If their candidates win it would silence the critics who are claiming that both the parties have lost the ground in J&K. This will also give ruling parties a chance to claim that they have fulfilled their promise of holding these all important polls.”
A politician said, “Holding Panchayat polls in Jammu region is not a problem but in Kashmir situation is different. The security situation still continues to be grim. We will have to see how many people will come forward and contest the polls in Kashmir. They know that they can become soft targets and no one would like to put his life at risk.”
He said, “Situation in rural areas is still dangerous. Political workers have been at the receiving end. The government would have to bear all these things in mind. It’s an established fact that government won’t be able to provide security to everyone. How many people will come forward to contest these polls especially in rural areas is a big question.”
It’s in place to mention here that top officials of the security agencies have been reiterating that militancy has not ended and there are nearly 200 militants still active in Kashmir. “We will give our full support to ensure that Panchayat polls are held without any hindrance,” said a police official.