Political landscape shifts ahead of 2024 J-K Lok Sabha elections

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Lok Sabha Election 2024 in Jammu and Kashmir

SRINAGAR — With the 2024 Lok Sabha elections inching closer, Jammu and Kashmir’s political arena is poised for significant transformations following the abrogation of Article 370, setting the stage for a riveting electoral contest.

Over the past five years, the region has witnessed a notable shift in political dynamics, with emerging contenders affiliated with non-traditional political entities challenging established family-based parties. Three newly registered parties have surfaced, signalling a departure from conventional politics, while numerous leaders, former ministers, and ex-MLAs are expected to play pivotal roles in the evolving political landscape.

The initial political upheaval post-Article 370 revocation saw senior leaders distancing themselves from established parties. Notably, former minister Syed Altaf Bukhari, once aligned with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), founded the Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party. The party’s commendable performance in the inaugural District Development Council (DDC) elections challenged the dominance of its parent party.

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Similarly, influential leader Ghulam Nabi Azad’s formation of the Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) stirred commotion within the Congress, leading to defections of former ministers and MLAs. DPAP is actively exploring electoral prospects across various constituencies, including Jammu, Udhampur, and Anantnag-Rajouri, while the Apni Party is considering alliance possibilities in Kashmir.

The National Conference (NC) faced setbacks in the Jammu division, with key figures defecting to the BJP in 2022, followed by more recent defections after the hills were granted Scheduled Tribe (ST) reservation status.

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Furthermore, several notable figures, including Imran Raza Ansari, Basharat Bukhari, and former Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Baig, have severed ties with the PDP, causing friction within the party.

As the electoral landscape continues to evolve, alliances and defections are reshaping political equations, with NC stating its reluctance to engage in seat-sharing agreements with the PDP.

Amidst these developments, the 2024 Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir are anticipated to be a litmus test for the altered political landscape, setting the stage for a captivating electoral battle.

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