Kashmir, anti-Modi alliance wins in local elections
It won the largest number of seats on district development councils. It's the first vote since the region's semi-autonomy status was lifted last year. Support for the separatist cause remains strong. Protests by farmers in Delhi continue.
New Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - An alliance of parties opposing Prime Minister Narendra Modi triumphed in local elections in Kashmir, according to results published yesterday. The electoral process took place over several stages between November 28 and December 19. This was the first vote since the central government revoked the semi-autonomous status of the Himalayan region last year, assuming direct control.
The anti-Modi alliance wants local self-government to be restored. It won 112 of the 280 seats on the district development councils. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a Hindu nationalist formation led by the prime minister, obtained at 74 seats, largely in the Jammu area; 49 seats went to independent candidates.
Since the revocation of autonomy in August 2019, the Modi executive has intensified the campaign against Kashmiri separatism. The local population is predominantly Muslim and supports the demands of some rebel groups, which have been fighting since 1989 for the creation of an independent state or, alternatively, for the region to come under the sovereignty of Pakistan. The Indian authorities have always accused Islamabad of supporting terrorist groups operating in Kashmir.
The electoral defeat for Modi comes at a difficult time for his government, grappling with the protest of tens of thousands of farmers, camped for almost a month on the outskirts of Delhi. They are calling for the repeal of an agrarian reform which, according to them, favors large groups to the detriment of small owners.