Modi’s BJP Seeks Inroads in Kashmir Elections

Modi’s BJP Seeks Inroads in Kashmir Elections
Kashmiri women stand in line to cast their votes during the fourth phase polling of the Jammu and Kashmir state elections on the outskirts of Srinagar, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Dec. 14, 2014 (AP photo by Dar Yasin).

The Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir’s phased voting process for local elections continued over the weekend. In an email interview, Sten Widmalm, professor at Uppsala University in Sweden and author of “Kashmir in Comparative Perspective,” discussed politics in Kashmir.

WPR: What are the major issues driving Jammu and Kashmir’s elections, and what is at stake in terms of local and national politics?

Sten Widmalm: The election campaigns focus intensely on the failures of the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (NC) party, which currently has the most seats in the state assembly, and the Indian National Congress, which was in power until May of this year. Both are criticized for not adequately addressing an increase in violence by Kashmiri separatists and Indian security forces, and for not being responsive after severe flooding hit Jammu and Kashmir in September.

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