Indian Prime Minister’s party will not contest elections in disputed Kashmir

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been traveling across the country in support of his election campaign, but for the first time since 1996, his Bharatiya Janata Party (PBJ) is not in the polls in Kashmir, where a conflict against 35 years of Indian rule has erupted. Its going on. Has taken the lives of thousands of people.

Instead, the main candidates for the three parliamentary seats in the Muslim-majority region are powerful local parties. They will run against each other, but both say they oppose PBJ and will align themselves with the Congress Party-led opposition alliance.

Analysts and opposition parties say the BJP decided not to contest elections in the region because the outcome would likely run contrary to Modi’s narrative of a peaceful and more unified Kashmir since he removed the region’s semi-autonomous status in 2019 and made it its own. Took control of New Delhi.

The PBJ, along with its allies, is operating in all other parts of India and is expected to win a majority of the 543 seats in Parliament based on its image of Hindu nationalism.

National Conference Party leader and former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir state Omar Abdullah asked, “Why are they not participating in the elections?”

“Clearly, there is a gap between what the PBJ has claimed to do and the reality on the ground,” he said, speaking at his home in Kashmir’s main city Srinagar.

Modi says his 2019 decision has brought normalcy to Kashmir after decades of bloodshed and investment and jobs will soon come. Supporting the government’s stand, Home Minister Amit Shah said the youth now have laptops in their hands instead of stones which they used to throw at security forces in the past.

As part of the measure, the state of Jammu and Kashmir was divided into two union territories – the Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley, the Hindu-majority plains of Jammu, and the mountainous, Buddhist-majority Ladakh.

At that time, the government imposed a strict lockdown on Kashmir and Abdullah and almost all other local leaders were detained for months.

PBJ’s Kashmir unit chief Ravinder Raina said the party’s decision not to participate in the elections was part of a broader strategy, though he declined to elaborate.

“PBJ will not contest the elections but will support a candidate on each of the three seats who will work for peace, happiness, brotherhood and democracy,” he said. The party has not yet announced whom it will support among the several smaller parties in the race.

Apart from a three-decade insurgency, Kashmir is divided into areas controlled by India and Pakistan and claimed in full by both countries. Since independence in 1947, the enemies have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir.

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