Election Commission of India (ECI)
Election Commission of India (ECI)

SRINAGAR — In the past three years, seven new political parties, including a few little-known groups, from Jammu & Kashmir have been registered by the Election Commission of India (ECI).

The ECI records accessed by the news agency KNO show that since 2019, seven political parties have been registered by the Commission after they completed the requisite formalities.

According to the documents, National Awami United Party, National Democratic Party (Indian), Aman Aur Shanti Tehreek-e-Jammu & Kashmir, Voice of Labour Party (Jammu & Kashmir), Haq Insaaf Party, Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement and Jammu & Kashmir Apni Party have been registered by the ECI after 2019.

While details are not available about office-bearers of five of these parties, Jammu & Kashmir People’s Movement and Jammu & Kashmir Apni Party were respectively floated by IAS officer Dr Shah Faesal and former minister Syed Altaf Bukhari.

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Faesal, who had floated the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement (JKPM) in 2019, was detained under the Public Safety Act after the abrogation of Article 370. After his release, Faesal made exit from both politics as well as JKPM. He was recently reinstated and posted as Deputy Secretary in the Union Ministry of Culture.

The Jammu & Kashmir Apni Party, headed by Altaf Bukhari, came into existence after the abrogation of Article 370 and the reorganization of Jammu & Kashmir. Comprising more than 20 former legislators, the JKAP was formally launched in March 2020 and was registered by the poll body ahead of the District Development Council elections in 2020.

The ECI records show that Jammu & Kashmir Nationalist People’s Front headed by Sheikh Muzaffar Ahmad has submitted an application this year for its registration.

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It is worthwhile to mention that former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad launched a new political party on Monday.

A look at the history of Kashmir’s regional parties reveals that National Conference and People’s Conference are among the oldest regional political parties which are currently part of the electoral process.

While NC came into existence in 1939, the People’s Conference was formed in 1978. Jammat-e-Islamia, which was banned in 2019 by the Government of India, was also participating in the electoral process before 1987.

Awami National Conference was founded by former chief minister late Ghulam Mohammad Shah after his split with the National Conference in 1984. On the other hand, the People’s Democratic Party came into existence in 1999.

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