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Not in fray, yet BJP goes whole hog in Kashmir valley poll campaign

In the Srinagar seat, polling will be held on May 13, while Baramulla will vote on May 20 and Anantnag on May 25.

Kashmir ValleySRINAGAR: The BJP is not contesting any of the three valley seats—Srinagar, Baramulla and Anantnag—in the Lok Sabha polls, the first major electoral exercise in Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370, but is engaged in a door-to-door campaign against the National Conference (NC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and in favour of candidates of like-minded parties.

The BJP held a roadshow in uptown Srinagar on Friday from Jawahar Nagar area to Rawathpora area of Barzulla. “The roadshow was part of a larger campaign by the BJP to support candidates from like-minded parties,” party Media Incharge Kashmir Sajid Yousuf Shah said.

In Srinagar seat, polling will be held on May 13 while Baramulla will vote on May 20 and Anantnag on May 25.

In Srinagar, the main contest is among NC’s Agha Ruhullah, PDP’s Waheed Para and the Apni Party’s Mohammad Ashraf Mir. NC’s Omar Abdullah and Peoples Conference’s Sajjad Lone are locked in a direct fight in Baramulla.

Anantnag-Rajouri seat is witnessing a triangular contest among NC’s Mian Altaf, PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti and Apni Party’s Zafar Manhas.

It is for the first time that no BJP candidate is contesting LS polls from the Valley. Even when militancy was at its peak, BJP candidates used to contest from Kashmir. Despite not contesting the polls, the BJP is engaged in aggressive door-to-door campaigning.

“Our party leaders and workers are active on the ground. They are telling party workers to vote against NC and PDP and in favour of candidates of like-minded parties,” said BJP leader Altaf Thakur.

“For larger interests, the party has decided not to contest Valley seats and support like-minded parties instead,” he added.

Sajid said the party’s door-to-door campaign to reach out to the voters is going on in central, north and south Kashmir.

“Top leaders and workers are engaged in the campaign in favour of candidates of like-minded parties. We want people to vote in large numbers so that democracy is strengthened in the Valley,” he said.

According to Sajid, the BJP was in a position to win the Anantnag-Rajouri LS seat but the party leadership decided against contesting the valley seats and focused on “winning the hearts and minds” of people.

“We have sacrificed Anantnag for the bigger cause of winning hearts and minds of people,” he said.

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