ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Jammu and Kashmir : Electoral Politics in a Separatist Context

The 2004 parliamentary elections in Jammu and Kashmir reaffirmed trends already in evidence since the 2002 assembly elections in the state. Despite the continued threat of militancy and the politics of separatism running a course parallel to electoral politics, the improved showing of the People's Democratic Party in the Kashmir Valley and the resurgence of the Congress in Jammu establishes two things. First, that issues relating to a Kashmiri identity have now found a space in the electoral agenda beyond an exclusive, separatist platform and, second, the politics of division in Jammu, either of religion, caste or tribe, as encouraged by the BJP and the National Conference, has been firmly rejected. It remains to be seen whether the centre, in an atmosphere of renewed optimism in the electoral process as several election surveys also revealed, will now attempt to seek some resolution of the long-standing Kashmir issue by involving more groups in the process.

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