Shaswati Das
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This side of paradise
The rise, fall and decimation of regional politics in Kashmir
in Passionate politics
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This chapter examines a crucial period in Kashmir’s electoral history. It investigates the period between 2016 and 2019 – from a game-changing political alliance to the general election – which marked a paradigm shift in voter choices in Kashmir. Given the region’s turbulent past, the 2019 election altered the region’s political future. While the 2019 election turnout itself and voter attitudes reflected the electorate’s anger, betrayal and hurt, the period in the run-up to the election witnessed unprecedented jihadist and civilian violence – events which ultimately culminated in the revocation of the region’s autonomy. This chapter therefore examines the raw voter sentiments of this region which, while theoretically being pivotal to any election, remained inconsequential to Kashmir’s political narrative. Primary data is based on semi-structured interviews that were carried out across south and north Kashmir, during and after the 2019 Pulwama blast and in the run-up to the election. Due to the fear of surveillance, participants’ names have been anonymised where requested. Secondary data in the chapter has been sourced from the Election Commission of India, and the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP). Through this qualitative and quantitative data, the chapter examines comparative voter sentiments through the years, interspersed with its violent history and consideration of why the electorate chose as they did.

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Passionate politics

Democracy, development and India’s 2019 general election



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