November 25, 2014 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
New Delhi, India: The first of the five-round polling begins in Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand today. India’s ruling Hindutva party – Bharatiya Janata Party has expressed high expectations in both states. In J-K, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) could emerge as the biggest gainer, say analysts.
However, the BJP is looking to tap into the people’s anger over the slow rehabilitation of flood-hit Kashmiris as it seeks to expand its support base to the Muslim-majority Valley, where it has no presence, and increase its base in Hindu-dominated Jammu region.
Analysts say the party may not achieve its aim of winning 44 in the 87-member assembly but could emerge as a key player with the ruling National Conference (NC) facing people’s ire after the state’s worst flooding in a century. It can also benefit from the falling out between the NC and Congress, after being in government together for six years.
In Jharkhand, while the BJP is looking to sustain its winning habit having swept the Lok Sabha polls and key states this year on the back of Narendra Modi’s popularity, the Congress and big regional players like the JMM are fighting to halt the juggernaut.
A total of 199 candidates including nine sitting legislators are contesting in the first phase. Labour minister KN Tripathy from the Congress, party state president Sukhdeo Bhagat, AJSU’s Kamal Kishor Bhagat, Chamra Linda from the JMM, BJP’s Brajmohan Ram and RJD state president Girinath Singh are some of the big names.
This will be the third assembly election in Jharkhand which was carved out of Bihar in 2000. Since then the state has seen nine chief ministers and three stints of President’s Rule.
About 45,000 security personnel have been deployed at 3,961 polling stations while three helicopters have been pressed into service for aerial monitoring of the election.
The BJP and the JMM are contesting 12 seats each in the first phase while the JVM-P is fighting 11. The Congress-RJD-JD (U) alliance is contesting all 13 seats – the Congress seven, the RJD four and the JD (U) two.
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