Democratic Processes in the Context of Separatism and Political Divergence: An Analysis of 2014 Assembly Elections in Jammu and Kashmir

Published date01 December 2015
Date01 December 2015
Subject MatterArticles
Democratic Processes in the Context
of Separatism and Political Divergence:
An Analysis of 2014 Assembly Elections
in Jammu and Kashmir
Rekha Chowdhary1
The 2014 assembly elections in conflict-ridden Jammu and Kashmir state was in news not only for
the massive participation of people but also for the unprecedented performance of Bharatiya Janata
Party (BJP) and its subsequent sharing of power with ideologically opposite People’s Democratic Party
(PDP). This election forms a very important moment in the politics of the state which can help us
comprehend the intricacies of internal politics of the state in the twofold context of separatism on the
one hand, and regional political divergence on the other. This article seeks to focus on the changing
nature of party politics in the last one-and-a-half decades and understand its implications in both the
contexts. After analyzing the background context, especially separatism in the last two-and-a-half
decades and regionalism within the state, the article goes on to analyze the outcome of the result and
debate the concerns and challenges thrown up by the realignment of the political forces.
Jammu and Kashmir, BJP, PDP, NC, assembly elections
Changed Context since the 1990s
Till the late 1990s, party politics of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) was characterized by the dominance
of the single party, mostly the National Conference (NC), without any serious challenge to it in the
electoral space.2 While it could comfortably sweep the electoral outcome at the state level, in the Kashmir
region, its position was hegemonic (Chowdhary & Rao, 2004). Winning almost all but few seats here, it
did not give chance to any other political party to have a presence in this region. Though there was some
1 Professor of Political Science (Retd), University of Jammu, Jammu, India.
2 The NC has been the oldest party of the state which dominated the mainstream politics till very recently. With the exception of
10 years (1965–1975) when this party stood dissolved and its cadre merged with the Congress, its role within the power politics
has remained hegemonic. Facing no competition at all, it captured most of the assembly seats till 1996.
Studies in Indian Politics
3(2) 164–178
© 2015 Lokniti, Centre for the
Study of Developing Societies
SAGE Publications
DOI: 10.1177/2321023015601740
Corresponding author:
Rekha Chowdhary, Professor of Political Science (Retd), C/O Department of Political Science, University of Jammu,
Jammu 180006, India.

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