Jammu & Kashmir National Conference
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The Jammu & Kashmir National Conference (JKNC) is a state political party in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Founded as the All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference by Sheikh Abdullah and Chaudhry Ghulam Abbas in 1932 in the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, the organisation renamed itself to "National Conference" in 1939 in order to represent all the people of the state. It supported the accession of the princely state to India in 1947. Prior to that, in 1941, a group led by Ghulam Abbas broke off from the National Conference and revived the old Muslim Conference. The revived Muslim Conference supported the accession of the princely state to Pakistan and led the movement for Azad Kashmir.
|Chairperson||Farooq Abdullah (1981–2002 & 2009-till present)|
|Founded||15 October 1932|
|Merger of||All Jammu and Kashmir Plebiscite Front|
|Split from||All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference|
|Headquarters||Nawa-e-sueb Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India|
|Student wing||National Conference Students' Union|
|Youth wing||Youth National Conference|
|Ideology||Moderate separatism |
Re-unification of Kashmir
|ECI Status||State Party|
|Seats in Lok Sabha|
1 / 545(currently 518 members + 1 Speaker)
|Seats in Rajya Sabha|
0 / 245
15 / 87Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly
Since 1947, the National Conference was in power in Jammu and Kashmir in one form or another till 2002, and again between 2009–2015. It implemented land reforms in the state, ensured the state's autonomy under the Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, and formulated a separate Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir in 1957. Sheikh Abdullah's son Farooq Abdullah (1981–2002, 2009–present) and grandson Omar Abdullah (2002–2009) have led the party after Sheikh Abdullah's death.
The pre-independence periodEdit
In October 1932, Sheikh Abdullah founded the All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference, in collaboration with Mirwaiz Yusuf Shah and Chaudhry Ghulam Abbas. On 11 June 1939 it was renamed as the All Jammu and Kashmir National Conference. The National Conference was affiliated to the All India States Peoples Conference. Sheikh Abdullah was elected its president in 1947. In 1946, the National Conference launched an intensive agitation against the state government. It was directed against the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir Hari Singh. The slogan of the agitation was "Quit Kashmir".
The post-independence periodEdit
In the elections held in September 1951, National Conference won all 75 seats of the Constituent assembly of Jammu and Kashmir. Sheikh Abdullah remained the Prime Minister until his dismissal in August 1953 on the grounds of conspiracy against the state of India. Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad became the Prime minister of the state and Sheikh Abdullah was arrested on 9 August 1953.
In 1965 the National Conference merged with the Indian National Congress (INC) and became the Jammu and Kashmir branch of the Indian National Congress. Sheikh Abdullah was again arrested in 1965 until 1968 for conspiracy against the state. Sheikh Abdullah's splinter Plebiscite Front faction later appropriated the name of the original party when Abdullah was allowed to return to power in February 1975 after striking a deal with the central government. In 1977, National Conference led by him won the state assembly elections, and Sheikh Abdullah became the chief minister. His son Farooq Abdullah succeeded him as the Chief Minister on his death on 8 September 1982. In June 1983 elections, the JKNC led by Farooq Abdullah again won a comfortable majority. In July 1984 Farooq's brother-in-law Ghulam Mohammad Shah split the party. Acting on the behest of the central government, the Governor dismissed Farooq as a Chief Minister and installed Ghulam Mohammad Shah in his place. His government was dismissed in March 1986 and President's rule was imposed. In 1987 contested state assembly elections, the JKNC, which formed an alliance with the INC, was claimed to have won the majority and Farooq Abdullah again became the Chief Minister and under Abdullah's watch, an insurgency against the State government and India began. Abdullah was dismissed again in 1990 by the Union Government and President's rule was imposed in the state. In 1991 the state elections were cancelled due to a revolt by the people.
In Jammu and Kashmir state assembly elections in 1996, the JKNC led by Abdullah was awarded the election yet again winning 57 seats out of a total 87. This election like its predecessors has been deemed to be rigged and Abdullah stepped down in 2000. His son, Omar Abdullah then took up the reins of power in the state. But in 2002 state assembly elections, the JKNC won only 28 seats, with the Jammu and Kashmir People's Democratic Party (PDP) emerging in the Kashmir Valley as a contender for power. In the December 2008 state assembly elections, no single party was able to get the majority. The JKNC led by Farooq's son Omar Abdullah emerged as a single largest party, winning 28 seats. After the elections, on 30 December 2008 the JKNC formed an alliance with the INC which had won 17 seats. Omar Abdullah became the Chief Minister of this coalition government on 5 January 2009.
JKNC and INC contested 2009 general election in alliance. INC won all the two seats of Jammu region but lost Ladakh seat to NC rebel who contested as an independent candidate. NC won all the three seats of the Kashmir Valley in 2009.
During this period the JKNC has experienced increasing controversies over the Accession of Kashmir to India. Protests against the government in 2010 when approximately 100 protesters (one as young as 11) were killed as the result of live ammunition being fired by state paramilitary forces. A torture scandal was exposed by the WikiLeaks, revelations which were subsequently aired on Channel 4.
In the 2014 general election, the NC contested the election in an alliance with Indian National Congress but did not win a single seat. Out of six seats in the state, PDP and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won three each.
During Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly election, 2014, INC broke its alliance with JKNC. JKNC contested all the assembly seats but won only 15 seats, a decrease of 13 seats. PDP won 28 seats and became the largest party in the assembly followed by BJP winning 25 seats. Omar Abdullah resigned as a chief minister on 24 December 2014.
Heads of GovernmentEdit
- Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir
- Sheikh Abdullah
- First term (5 March 1948 – 9 August 1953).
- Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad
- First term (9 August 1953 – 12 October 1963).
- Khwaja Shamsuddin
- First term (12 October 1963 – 29 February 1964).
- Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir
- Sheikh Abdullah
- First term (25 February 1975 – 26 March 1977).
- Second term (9 July 1977 – 8 September 1982)
- Farooq Abdullah
- First term (8 September 1982 – 2 July 1984).
- Second term (7 November 1986 – 19 January 1990).
- Third term (9 October 1996 – 18 October 2002).
- Omar Abdullah
- First term (5 January 2009 – 8 January 2015).
- Zutshi, Languages of Belonging 2004, Chapter 5.
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- Jammu & Kashmir National Conference Party Website
- Chowdhary, Rekha. "Electoral Politics in the Context of Separatism and Political Divergence: An Analysis of 2009 Parliamentary elections in Jammu & Kashmir". South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal, 3, 2009.