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LS polls: Independent candidates stay away from filing nominations

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Srinagar: Voting for the first phase of Lok Sabha elections (Lok Sabha Election 2024) in Jammu and Kashmir is scheduled for April 19. However, the participation of independent candidates in every election is gradually decreasing. In the 2014 elections, eight candidates contested from this region, including three independents. Let’s explore the reasons behind this trend.

Previously, there was significant enthusiasm among people regarding parliamentary elections, both in terms of voting and contesting. However, while enthusiasm for voting remains high, the number of candidates participating in elections is steadily declining, particularly independent candidates. Experts attribute this decline to the challenges associated with contesting parliamentary elections independently, including increased expenses.

As per details in the parliamentary elections of 2004, 21 candidates vied for seats from this region, with eight being independent candidates. Thirteen political parties, including Congress, BJP, and National Conference, also fielded candidates. However, by the 2019 elections, the number of candidates had significantly decreased, with only five candidates contesting, none of whom were independent.

In the Jammu-Reasi parliamentary constituency, formerly known as Jammu-Rajouri, independent candidates now rarely contest elections. In 2004, 26 candidates contested from this seat, including 15 independents. However, the number of independent candidates decreased over subsequent elections, with only one independent candidate participating in the 2019 elections.

The decline in independent candidates is evident in both parliamentary constituencies of the Jammu division. In the 2019 elections, out of 11 candidates, only one was an independent candidate. This trend suggests that while voter enthusiasm remains high, candidates prefer to contest elections under the banner of political parties.

Furthermore, smaller political parties are also less visible in recent parliamentary elections in the region. Advocate Dheeraj Chaudhary attributes this shift to changes in electoral dynamics since 2014, noting that parliamentary elections now primarily involve national parties. This trend is not unique to the Jammu division but is observed across various regions.

Contesting elections independently requires significant resources, including manpower and finances. Moreover, geographical constraints in the Jammu division make it challenging to reach all areas, further reducing the number of independent candidates. As a result, independent participation in parliamentary elections continues to decline. (KNO)


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