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J&K sees rise in political parties since Article 370 abrogation

NewsJ&K sees rise in political parties since Article 370 abrogation

NEW DELHI: The abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution has led to the creation of a larger political space in Jammu and Kashmir, encouraging individuals and groups to form political associations and participate in the election process which is likely to be held in 2023.
The last three years have seen 10 new political parties in Jammu and Kashmir registering themselves with the Election Commission of India to participate in forthcoming elections in the state. This list includes National Awami United Party, Aman aur Shanti Tehreek-e-Jammu and Kashmir, National Democratic Party, Voice of Labour Party, Haq Insaaf Party, Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement, Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party, among others.
The Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement was floated by former IAS officer Dr Shah Faesal in 2019. The party later merged with the Aam Aadmi Party in July 2022.
The Jammu and Kashmir Apni party has been floated by former Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and PDF member, Altaf Bukhari in 2020. The National Awami United Party was also floated in 2020 by Sandeep Singh Manhas from Jammu and Kashmir, similarly other new political parties also came into existence in the state between the same period of 2019 to 2022.
Former senior Congress leader, Ghulam Nabi Azad also launched his new political outfit in the state and has named his party as ‘Democratic Azad Party’ and his party is also going to take part in the upcoming assembly election in the state. Intelligence agency sources say that with the improving security situation in the state, more local groups and individuals are now joining the election process. Earlier, many genuine groups, despite wanting to participate, were not able to take part in the election because of the fear from terrorists groups.
“The terrorists, and the separatists in Jammu and Kashmir earlier prohibited people to take part in the democratic process, including contesting the elections. Some political parties in the valley, which were supported and created by Pakistan backed ISI have now lost relevance, which has led to space for genuine political parties. The emergence of these new political parties is a testimony to the fact that terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir is decreasing rapidly,” an Intelligence officer told The Sunday Guardian.
Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, was abrogated in August 2019. The political democratic space of Jammu and Kashmir for years had been dominated by two regional political parties–Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party (PDP), The National Conference (NC) and one national part, The Indian National Congress. The other parties like the CPM, and some smaller local regional parties, have enjoyed little or marginal presence in the state.
Voting percentage in Jammu and Kashmir has always remained a cause of concern as herding to the calls of separatists’ leaders call for the boycott of elections in the state, the voting percentage in Assembly and Parliamentary elections mostly remained less than 50%, with the only exception being the 2014 Assembly elections in the state, which saw more than 65% voting. The 2019 Lok Sabha polls also saw one of the lowest voters turn out in the valley, which recorded less than 40% voter turnout.
However, with the abrogation of Article 370, intelligence agencies believe people of the state will now come out in large numbers to vote and expect that over 60% voting is likely to take place in the upcoming Assembly elections in the state.

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