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Unifying divided J&K

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) tries its utmost but it can hardly hide its saffron hue. The results of the Assembly elections in J&K show a distinct division on religious lines. Hindu Jammu voted heavily for the BJP giving it 25 seats. Overwhelmingly Muslim Kashmir voted to keep the BJP out. But the vote in Kashmir Valley was split among a number of predominantly regional parties. Ladakh voted Congress. Taking J&K together, the BJP has achieved unprecedented success. But its performance in Kashmir Valley demonstrates that the ruling party at the Centre could not sell its ‘one country’ development agenda. Nevertheless, the BJP now has a voice in the Valley although it has got only 2.2% of the votes cast there. Parties and independent candidates associated with them have also been assertive. All said and done, it cannot be denied that the people of Kashmir are well aware that the state’s development depends on the cooperation of the NDA ruling at the Centre.
Whatever may be the problems arising out of political fragmentation, it is of the utmost importance that a stable coalition is formed at Srinagar. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has bagged only 28 seats. If it had won more seats in the Valley, it could have exercised greater influence in government-formation. Besides, the PDP had an electoral agenda hostile to the BJP. Now that the chips are down, their joining hands will not be smooth sailing. On the other hand, it is only a PDP-BJP combine which can form a stable government capable of improving the quality of life in J&K. People’s welfare should override political, religious or ideological differences. A strong and stable government is essential to protect peace and security in J&K which is a sensitive state frequently exposed to cross-border terrorism.

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