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What led to consistent downfall of Congress in J&K since 2014?

Last Updated on March 4, 2021 at 4:24 pm

As the Congress weakened in mainland Jammu, the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) started dominating the Union Territory’s politics. Before 2014 assembly elections, the BJP was not considered a serious political contender in the region. In these elections, the party secured 25 seats and share a coalition with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Earlier in the 2002 polls, it could win only one seat, while in 2008 polls, the party had won 11 seats.


The J&K Congress’s downfall could be said to start with the 2014 parliamentary polls when both the seats it had were acquired by the BJP. Congress leader, Ghulam Nabi Azad was defeated by BJP’s Jitendra Singh by a margin of around 60,000 votes.

A couple of months later when assembly elections were held, the Congress party could only get 12 seats. Congress couldn’t register even a single win in the Hindu-dominated districts of Jammu, Kathua, Samba and Udhampur. All of its 12 MLAs in J&K were Muslims and Buddhists: nine Muslims from the Kashmir valley and Jammu’s Chenab and Pir Panchal regions, one Muslim from Ladakh and two Buddhists from Ladakh.

In the last Lok Sabha elections, both the Congress candidates in the Jammu region face a huge defeat by more than three lakh votes, even though it has support from National Conference (NC) and PDP. Congress also couldn’t perform well in the recently held district development council (DDC) polls.

When the DDC elections were held in November and December last year, the party could win only 26 seats out of 280, ranking fifth. All of its winning candidates belonged to the Muslim communities of the Kashmir valley and the Chenab and Pir Panchal regions of Jammu. The party secured four seats each in Doda and Poonch, three each in Kishtwar, Rajouri and Anantnag, two each in Ramban, Baramulla and Kulgam and one seat each in Reasi, Bandipora and Shopian. When elections for the chairpersons of the DDCs were conducted, the party failed to secure even a single seat in the 20 districts of J&K, although the vice-chairperson posts in Kishtwar and Rajouri districts were bagged by the party.

Political experts said that the Congress party in J&K lacks leadership. Political analyst Zaffar Choudhary said that this poor performance of Congress could be caused by lack of leadership, direction and intent in the party since 2014.