If we read the political winds at this time, the ground below Abdullah’s family is too shaky.The National Conference (NC) may end up with its worst performance in the coming assembly elections. After losing all six seats to rivals Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and the BJP in the recent Lok Sabha polls, the prospect of the party’s recovery looks bleak.
Analysis of the vote share in the Lok Sabha election shows that the party dominated in only five of the 12 assembly segments in its bastion of Srinagar. Party stalwart Farooq Abdullah had to concede defeat to a relatively unknown candidate AH Karra of the PDP from this Lok Sabha constituency. By leading in 41 of the 87 assembly constituencies Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP emerged as the most popular party in the state.
Beside the PDP, the Abdullahs face a fresh challenge from the Amit Shah-led BJP. The party is targeting both the NC and PDP for ‘family rule’ and has launched a campaign to `rid Kashmir of dynastic politics.’ Besides political rivals, the Abdullahs face a major challengewithin the family in the form of Khalida Shah, Sheikh Abdullah’s eldest daughter and wife of late Ghulam Mohommad Shah, and her son Muzzaffar Shah. They lead the Awami National Conference (ANC).
In the Hindu dominant Jammu, the NC had strategically showcased aprominent `Rajput’ leader as sign of party’s inclusive politics. There, too, it now faces a fresh challenge. Rival PDP has received a shot in its arms with Vikramaditya Singh, scion of the former Royal family, joining the party. Vikramaditya, who is son of veteran Congress leader Dr Karan Singh, will fight against NC’s Rajput leader Devinder Singh Rana. If the NC is worried, it is not showing it yet. The party is wary of the rise in extremism on all sides. On one side it is the BJP which is stoking the passions among the Hindus and on the other side is the PDP, which is fraternizing with extremists.
Omar may have to do the campaigning without his father’s help as Dr Farooq Abdullah, who’s not keeping well. The junior Abdullah is often heckled for not being able to speak in Kashmiri.
By: Pritish Raj