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Is Ravinder Raina’s “Hindutva politics” losing its charm?

Last Updated on December 28, 2020 at 4:24 pm

In the recent DDC elections, BJP lost a seat in the home constituency of its J&K President, Ravinder Raina. Raina is often seen playing Hindutva card. This defeat has caused opposition parties to claim that the constituency’s predominantly Hindu voters have rejected his brand of “communal politics”.

Even though the BJP has secured victory in 3 seats in the Kashmir valley’s 140 seats in the District Development Council elections, it got around half of the total seats in Jammu, which is not much considering the fact that it has traditionally been its base. The saffron party won 72 of Jammu’s total 140 seats. In 2014 Assembly polls, it bagged 25 of its 37 seats — more than two-thirds. In the last two general elections, The BJP had won both of Jammu’s Lok Sabha seats.

The most embarrassing loss for the BJP came in Raina’s home constituency of Nowshera in Rajouri where BJP candidate lost by around 3,000 votes. He was defeated by People’s Democratic Party candidate Manohar Singh. The BJP won other two DDC seats in Nowshera’s three DDC seats. However, the party could not manage to win more than half the 14 seats across Rajouri.

PDP general secretary Surinder Chowdhary told The Telegraph that about 98 per cent of voters in his constituency are Hindus and they have made his party candidate a winner. He alleges that the BJP played the communal card but we got votes in the name of religious harmony, development and India-Pakistan talks. The Congress could not get any seat from Hindu majority areas in Jammu. Gupkar alliance got few seats in Hindu-majority areas by fielding non-Muslim candidates.

Chowdhary said that Manohar’s victory in Nowshera was a repudiates Raina’s “communal politics”. He says that Raina keeps talking about India versus Pakistan, Hindu (versus) Muslim 24 hours a day which, people in the area have rejected. People prefer peace, development and employment.

The BJP claims the PDP is “anti-national” party. A BJP leader, Ashwani Chrungoo, has even lodged a complaint with the Election Commission in October for de-recognition of the PDP.

The Gupkar alliance secured victory on 26 seats in Jammu while the Congress bagged 17. The rest of these seats wnt to smaller parties and Independent candidates. Across the Union Territory, the alliance won 112 of the 280 seats and the BJP has won 75.

BJP state general secretary Ashok Koul said that Manohar won because of his “gunda gardi” (hooliganism) and alleged Chowdhary even assaulted a shopkeeper in the area during his victory rally on Friday. He said that the party performed very well in six districts of Jammu and registered their presence in the rest.