1. As projected, the hung assembly is here. The difference is, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are close number 2 and number 1, respectively. And both parties are under 30 – BJP(25), PDP (28) – as per the trends and results as of now. Who is the real king here?

2. Though PDP is 3 seats more than BJP, the swing for BJP is of 14 seats from its 2008 tally of 11 that is just double of 7 seats that PDP scored more this time. But the overall vote share of BJP, 23%, is more than PDP’s 22.5%. Also, when seen comparatively for the vote % in 2008 J&K assembly polls, the BJP gain is huge and unprecedented for party’s electoral history in the state. BJP’s vote % of 12.5% jumped to 23% (~11%) while the comparative increase in PDP’s vote % has been moderate, 15.4% to 22.5% (~7%). Doesn’t this make BJP the real winner of BJP’s assembly polls, irrespective of whether they join with ‘someone’ to form the government or sit in the opposition?

3. National Conference (NC) is third with 15 seats but Omar Abdullah, the outgoing chief minister who lost one of the two seats contested and could win one with slim numbers, has come out and said he is satisfied with the outcome and his ‘political obituary’ is not here yet. He says, after zero in the Lok Sabha polls, his party won 15 seats with two party supported independents and the tally of 17 is a positive development for him. Is this a result of an honest introspection or an immediate reflection to confront the criticism as both Congress and NC combined have just 2 seats more than BJP and BJP, a ‘not-so-relevant’ force so far in the state politics, has taken the space so far occupied by Congress and NC?

4. In the four-cornered fight, Congress is the last, with 12 seats, when it was in alliance with National Conference. Is Congress new BJP of J&K politics – the national party with a ‘fringe’ presence in the state?

5. The mandate is clearly not for NC and Omar Abdullah. An honest introspection should demand the outgoing government and the outgoing chief minister sit in opposition and work the way in for the next assembly polls. Yet, Omar says, as some reports say, he is open to go with PDP if the party approaches, saying if Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar can come together, why can’t PDP and NC. Plain speak Vs political opportunism in quick succession – desperate signs of Omar to handle the day’s developments? Even Omar’s 15 MLAs with PDP’s 28 would not make for the majority mark of 44 or his tally of ’17’ would give only a slim majority of one seat leaving space open for further manipulations to get the numbers (at any cost, that can be said if PDP and NC come together – an act of political opportunism)?

6. Is there possibility of ‘PDP + NC + Congress’ government? After all, there are no permanent friends or foes in politics, a cliché that Indian politicians and political parties follow as dictum.

7. Going by the dictum, can NC come along with BJP (28+15=43) to manage the numbers as both BJP and NC have support of some independents and others like Sajjad Lone that can easily take the ‘coalition’ beyond the ’44’ mark to prove majority in the assembly? ‘

8. Or it has to be about the most plausible combination by the numbers, PDP with BJP? They both make for 53 MLAs (28+25). With 2 MLAs of Sajjad Lone’s People Conference (PC), 55 is a good enough number in the 87-member state assembly to run the government. Leaders of both parties have been hinting about a possible coming-together after the ‘hung’ scenario was thrown out. As Narendra Modi didn’t mention even once the issue of Article 370 while campaigning, BJP and RSS can push it to the back seat and PDP, too, can go along with the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in J&K.

9. Or will it be about the evergreen political discourse of Indian politics – secular Vs communal – PDP + NC + Congress + Independents + other parties – bringing parties and independents against BJP on one platform – especially after BJP’s poor show in Kashmir Valley?

10. BJP has once again failed in the Valley. Except one, all BJP candidates lost their deposits in the Valley. The Muslim dominated region of J&K has rejected BJP and Narendra Modi given the fact Narendra Modi was the face of campaigning, both in Jharkhand and in J&K. Will the Modi Wave/Modi Wave remain a non-Muslim politics phenomenon?

11. How will this performance of BJP in the Kashmir Valley further affect/hurt the BJP chances to become a pan-India party with an acceptability across religions/communities?

12. For the national politics, isn’t the humiliating outcome in the Valley a warning signal for Narendra Modi that he needs to act fast and tough on erring and motormouth leaders making senseless statements on religious conversions, Hindu nationalism and provocative issues like ‘love-jihad’ when the central promise Narendra Modi made while asking for votes was ‘development’?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


Government Formation possibilities in Jammu & Kashmir

80 of the 87 assembly seats have been won by four main parties of the quadrangular contest. The largest party PDP has won 28 seats. Second largest party BJP has 25 seats. Outgoing chief minister Omar Abdulla’s National Conference has been able to win 15 seats while Congress, which split up with NC before the elections, could win only 12 seats.

This hung outcome makes the equations with these 7 seats highly interesting as they can make life easier for some possible equations in this scenario. 2 of these seats are with Sajjad Lone’s People Conference (PC) that will go with BJP. 2 of these seats are NC supported independent candidates out of total 3 independent winners. The other two seats are shared by Communist Party of India (Marxist) (1) and People Democratic Front (Secular) (1).

Now, with these numbers, what can be the possibilities of government formation in Jammu & Kashmir (going with the dictum that there are no permanent friends or foes in politics):

PDP + BJP = 28 + 25 = 53
Comfortably above majority requirement of 44 seats – with 2 members of Sajjad Lone’s PC, the alliance will be 55-member strong – going by the reports, back-channel talks are on, as indicated by the hints dropped by BJP and PDP spokespersons and other leaders – PDP would like to give this possibility the maximum preference as a friendly government in Delhi would make life much easier for the incoming state government

PDP + NC + Congress + NC supported Independents = 28 + 15 + 12 + 2 = 57
This one also makes for a stable equation in the number-game and going by the ‘secular Vs communal’ discourse, these three parties can come together to form the government

PDP + NC + NC supported Independents = 28 + 15 + 2 = 45
A majority of just one seat – can scout for one more independent and CPI(M) and PDP(S) winners taking the tally to 48 but that will be a cumbersome task and the majority obtained thus would be wafer thin, prone to manipulations

BJP + NC + PC + NC supported Independents = 25 + 15 + 2 + 2 = 44
Counting Omar’s options to join BJP in, now, this is an unacceptable majority number – just on the mark – even with managing seats of CPI(M), PDP(S) and one independent, (3 in all), the 47-member strong coalition would be a tricky alternative

Are there other combinations possible folks?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –



1. What if BJP emerges close second to PDP in the final poll outcome, will it be ‘BJP+PDP’ from ‘BJP Vs PDP’ or ‘PDP+Congress’ or PDP with any other combination?

2. In case of no clear numbers, what options BJP would be left with? Congress and National Conference won’t come and BJP won’t go with them. PDP is hinting of going along with BJP but that would mean BJP putting its ideological issues like its stand on Article 370 to back seat for an infinite period in the foreseeable future. Given the fact that Narendra Modi didn’t mention the issue even once while campaigning in the state, it should not be a problem area for BJP. In return, PDP may leave its ‘remove AFSPA’ demand under an agreed framework. 

3. But would people of the Valley, the electorate there, would accept this, given the poll outcome from the J&K region, that has totally rejected BJP one again?

4. Wouldn’t it be PDP betraying the Valley electorate? Won’t they prefer ‘PDP+Congress’ or even ‘PDP+NC’ than ‘PDP+BJP’? 

5. Also, should BJP sacrifice its ideology on Article 370 that is certainly not on the communal lines here, to join the government in J&K?

6. Would RSS allow that? How important a factor RSS will be when it comes to this?

7. Will it not prove again that BJP has failed to win the confidence of Muslims once again, a must for the democratic fabric of the country, in spite of all its claims?

8. Performing badly in Muslim-dominating region of the state – has the ongoing controversy surrounding religious conversions and the incessant pushing of the Hindu Nation/Nationalism agenda are to blame?

9. Isn’t it, again, a warning for Narendra Modi to rein in the radical/fundamentalist voices? More than anything else, it is his promise, and his legacy that it is going to be, that are at stake. The unexpected clear majority to BJP was in fact clear majority to the ‘prime minister’ Narendra Modi.

10. Would it work further to dent/undermine the Modi Wave/Modi Factor nationally?

11. Or BJP emerging a close second, an unparalleled performance by the party given its past record in the state, would it further consolidate the Modi Wave/Modi Factor?

12. The hung outcome with a clear Jammu Vs Kashmir outcome – wouldn’t it again add fuel to the fire to the debates of dividing Jammu & Kashmir into Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh given the fact the ethically different regions have been performing differently, electorally, politically, consistently?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –



The most talked-about talking point in the J&K assembly election has been about BJP’s prospects after its ‘much’ better than expected Lok Sabha poll performance, it’s almost clean sweep in Uttar Pradesh, it’s spectacular show in Haryana, it’s victory as the senior partner in the Maharashtra government and it’s Narendra Modi Wave/Factor.

The outcomes, before the outcomes finally come, are being seen and discussed mainly from this angle – how well BJP does – by all the stakeholders involved – from society, from polity, from advocacy, from media.

The central themes of these discourses are:

1. What if BJP performs poorly, left with what it has had so far in the state, or even worse?

2. What if BJP performs well only in the non-Muslim areas of the state?

3. What if BJP still fails to open its account in the Muslim dominated Kashmir Valley?

4. What if BJP wins numbers, even if not the majority numbers, numbers that give it the position to manage the numbers to form the government?

5. What if BJP manages the numbers on its own – accomplishing it’s ‘Mission 44+’? 

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –



1. What if BJP emerges with numbers to form the government in Jammu & Kashmir?

2. If it indeed happens, will it be another testimony to the Modi Wave/Modi Factor?

3. What will/should matter more for BJP – the final outcome or the way to final outcome? Even if it emerges as the second largest party as the exit polls project, it is expected to have numbers to manage the numbers to form the government in the state.

4. What if BJP wins numbers on its own? Will it follow what it has been saying – on Article 370 and other important issues related to the state?

5. Or, will it be forced to continue with the stand that it had to adopt before approaching the elections – putting on hold, looking to ensure the ground first – with fears of civil unrest in the Valley?

6. What will happen to the BJP agenda on Article 370 if it forms a government in coalition with other stakeholders in the state?

7. Can this ‘ideological’ issue for BJP take back seat given the fact that Narendra Modi and the Union Government have failed, so far, in containing the provocative remarks and acts of Hindu nationalism by RSS, its affiliates and some BJP members.

8. What if BJP is not able to form the government but registers a fascinating show by emerging as the second largest party in J&K, an allegedly communal party with Hindu Nationalism elements in the only Muslim state of India, wouldn’t it be a big achievement for such a party even if it scores a handsome second place that doesn’t allow it to form the government, given the fact that it will be doing so at the cost of one mainstream J&K party (National Conference, in government now) and Congress, the national party and a big political force in J&K so far?

9. BJP winning or becoming the main political opposition – will it alter the political discourse in India?

10. How will it alter the political discourse in India – has it the potential to rewrite the ‘secular Vs Communal’ discourse in Indian polity?

11. BJP winning or becoming the main political opposition – if it happens so, will it result in increased acceptability for BJP giving it the makeover of being a national party with presence across India and across religions?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –




9. Lotus was visible everywhere this time in the areas where the Phase 1 of the J&K Assembly Polls were held. RSS affiliate Muslim Rashtriya Manch and Delhi based organization of Muslim clerics, Jamaat-e-Ulema-i-Hind are working with the energy that is known to be an RSS forte. Jammu and Ladakh were always visible on radar but the scenario now speaks of BJP making significant inroads even in the Valley. Entry of another mainstream national political party of India as a major force in the state – isn’t it a positive sign for the political integration of the state.

10. What if the BJP wins 30 seats and manages numbers to form the government or wins the numbers on its own – wouldn’t it be about the definitive change of perceptions about Kashmir, about the so-called notions of ‘Kashmiriyat’ and about the anti-secular credentials of BJP?

11. First Congress and now BJP, the two main national political parties in India, are now have major presence in the state if we go by the pre-poll projections of these assembly polls in J&K, while the separatists, who claim to be the sole voice of the people of J&K, are marginalized. Could the separatists not read what was coming next for them?

12. It looks the reports of separatists looting and deflecting the Union Government aid and assistance by the central agencies during the recent floods have dented much the face value of the separatist leaders. Also, like the state government, they, too, were not visible, except for making anti-India rhetoric. Action speaks louder than words – isn’t it?

13. The prompt response of the Indian government, first during the floods, and now in the Budgam shooting case of two teenagers where speedy probe resulted in nine soldiers being indicted today – were these the right messages delivered at right time the impact value of which could finally open the doors to the efforts the Indian government has been trying for long – consistent efforts to bring the people of J&K to realities of the hollow agenda of separatists the terror-driven anti-India moves of Pakistan?

14. Given by the developments, isn’t it the high time for the separatists shed their escapist garb in the name of ‘Kashmiriyat’ and prove their base in the state?

15. Alternatively, isn’t it the apt time for the Indian government to politically manoeuvre the prevailing situation to co-opt the separatists who are down and out morally?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –



1. Unprecedented enthusiasm, the rural Jammu & Kashmir, the mountainous J&K, the remote J&K, the 15 assembly seats in the first round of the J&K polls, they have spoken, and spoken overwhelmingly, that they have started seeing the point that they are better off with Indian democracy than following the misleading propaganda of separatists. 72% of them turned out, from 61% last time, isn’t it a slap in the face of separatists, the so-called flag-bearers of the interests of the people of Jammu & Kashmir?

2. Like always, separatists have called for boycott and general strike during the polls. But there were several polling booths where people remained in long queues even after the polling time was over. Is the influence of separatists on the wane?

3. Same can be said for terrorist groups. The high turnout has proved quite frustrating for them it seems as more ‘warning posters’ by them cropped up today threatening voters not to participate. The day aptly made for the phrase ‘ballot over bullet’. Is the fear of terror not fearful enough now?

4. Also, like in past, the poll campaigning was not a taboo this time. People and politicians shed the stigma attached with campaigning for and participating in elections. It’s true the boycott activities were effectively handled. But the level of people’s participation tells its spontaneous. Is the thinking about the future of the next generation finally taking over the deleterious notions of worthless self-imposed isolation?

5. The state saw one of the worst floods this year. And there is anger on the way the state government of chief minister Omar Abdullah handled it. The state population also saw how the Indian government, Indian forces and Narendra Modi came forward to extend the helping hand when its elected government failed. Has this calamity affected the way the J&K electorate thinks about its position in the Union of India?

6. Since July, Narendra Modi has been regularly visiting J&K. Like the North-East of India, Narendra Modi regularly speaks about J&K, calling the state a priority focus. July, August, September, October, November – he has been there every month. He spent his Diwali in J&K. So far, he has acted on both the parameters – on delivering on ground and on building symbolism – the factors that can contribute to the positive swing of the electoral behaviour. Is Narendra Modi going to be able to do what he could do in May 2014 Lok Sabha polls and what he was able to do in the recently concluded Maharashtra and Haryana elections?

7. Shouldn’t we read the higher turnout as the pro-BJP votes in the state as we saw in the Lok Sabha and in Maharashtra and Haryana elections?

8. The pre-poll projections have written off Congress and National Conference, the ruling Combine which recently split, in these polls. The seat projection for them is around 10-15 seats while BJP is projected to win around 30 seats. PDP is expected to emerge as the largest party, but short of majority. So, the pre-poll projections make it a PDP Vs BJP battle in the 87-member assembly leaving the space for BJP to manoeuvre to arrange the numbers. Emergence of a nationalist party like BJP that has been talking about repealing the Article 370, even if keeping it away this time – doesn’t it sound death-knell for separatist politicians and their agenda?

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –