Udhampur Lok Sabha Election 2024: Key Things About Jammu and Kashmir’s ‘Biggest’ Constituency

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Udhampur Lok Sabha constituency is one of the six Parliamentary constituencies in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir. The constituency covers 20,230 square kilometre of mountainous Himalayan terrain, and is comparable to the size of Israel and is the biggest constituency in terms of geographical area. There are 17 assembly constituencies which make up the Lok Sabha constituency of Udhampur from four districts of Kishtwar, Doda, Udhampur and Kathua. Voting for Lok Sabha polls in Udhampur will take place on April 19 in the first phase. The counting of votes will take place on June 4.

2019 Result and 2024 Candidates

In 2019, Dr Jitendra Singh won the Udhampur Lok Sabha election after bagging 7.24 lakh votes and a staggering vote share of 61.38%. He is the BJP candidate from the seat yet again.

The Congress has fielded former BJP leader Choudhary Lal Singh from the Udhampur constituency. The DPAP of Ghulam Nabi Azad has fielded GM Saroori

Key Issues

Article 370 remains the biggest issue this election in Jammu and Kashmir. Hoever, at the constituency level, Udhampur sees several other issues like unemployment, development among others. Here’s a look at the key issues of Udhampur Lok Sabha seat:

Article 370

Four years after being revoked, Article 370 has taken centre stage in the poll campaign in Jammu and Kashmir, more so in the Udhampur Lok Sabha constituency. The BJP is branding the revocation of the Article as the reason that all round development in the form of highways, railways, roads, rapid rail, metro, IITs, IIMs, medical colleges, AIIMS, tunnels and modern infrastructure could take place.

Religious Tensions

While areas like Kathua and Udhampur have a Hindu majority with pockets of Muslim population, the regions of Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban, and Bhaderwah are predominantly Muslim. This demographic divide has historically influenced voting patterns, with Hindu voters largely supporting the BJP and Muslim voters aligning with Congress. The 2019 election saw Ghulam Nabi Azad, now a tacit ally of BJP, lose the seat due to a surge in Hindu voter turnout. In the upcoming election, INC candidate Lal Singh faces a challenge in securing Muslim votes due to his BJP antecedents and controversial remarks in the past. Despite National Conference leaders, Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, campaigning for Lal Singh in the Muslim-majority Chenab valley region, it remains uncertain whether their influence will sway Muslim voters. The religious divide and the historical voting patterns suggest that bridging this gap and securing votes across religious lines will be a significant challenge for Lal Singh and the Congress.

Ram Mandir

Ram Mandir is a big issue which is going to benefit BJP. BJP’s star campaigners are loudly seeking votes on Ram Mandir. The majority Hindu population in Udhampur see the Ram Mandir as a fulfilment of their long desire and has provided them a religious impetus which connects them with the rest of Hindus across India. Udhampur had also seen the participation of kar sevaks from the constituency back in 1992.

Frustration Over Unemployment

The residents of Udhampur have expressed growing discontent with the state of employment opportunities and hiring practices. There are accusations of local talent being overlooked for lucrative positions, which are instead being offered to individuals from outside the region. This has fostered a sense of resentment and the perception that local employees are treated as inferior. Despite the labour workforce participation rate standing at a high 79.12% the per capita income of around Rs 14,644 shows a different story.


Inflation is a major issue in Udhampur which the government has so far failed to address. Inflation has been on the rise for three straight years in Udhampur. Inflation has remained in double digits with 10.96% in 2022. Vegetable price rise rate jumped to 38.45%. This has led to the basic articles such as tomatoes, potatoes, pulses, cereals and paddy becoming out of reach of people in the lower economic strata. The opposition has also taken aim at the government for its inability to keep prices in check.


Udhampur has seen a slew of developmental projects taking place in the constituency, which has improved connectivity, healthcare, and has also seen Udhampur becoming an educational hub in the region. Moreover, a development master plan has been put in place for the constituency to promote, guide and rationalise the future growth and development of urban centres. It will endorse growth in the desired direction, promote economic development, improving service delivery and providing amenities to its people.

Drinking Water

The issue has persisted for a significant amount of time, leaving many villages without a reliable water supply. According to reports, some areas have not received any water supply for over a year, forcing residents to rely on alternative and often unreliable sources like hand pumps and natural springs. The water scarcity has disrupted daily life for many residents, impacting sanitation, hygiene, and overall well-being. Women and children are disproportionately affected, as they often bear the responsibility of collecting water from distant sources. This situation is particularly concerning as it has led to health risks due to the consumption of potentially contaminated water.

Viksit Bharat schemes

The Udhampur-Kathua Lok Sabha constituency has achieved near saturation in all schemes, such as Kisan Credit Card, PM Ujjwal Yojana and PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana, being covered under the Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra. While in agriculture related schemes like Kisan Credit Card and PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana etc, besides PM Ujjwal Yojana, nearly 100% saturation has been achieved, Ayushman Card has achieved nearly 99% target and pace has been substantially increased for Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana which has proved to be a game-changer by providing Pucca houses to those who had never dreamt of it or desired it. PM Vishwakarma Yojana has empowered artisans and craft persons by providing them financial assistance to propel their craft which was dying. The government is not only offering them a stipend but is also providing them training so that their businesses thrive, and more youth take up the craft which is fetching dwindling returns.

Infrastructure Development in Udhampur

From road infrastructure to rail and healthcare, Udhampur has seen new projects come up in the past few years.

Road Infrastructure

Udhampur-Kathua-Doda Lok Sabha constituency has witnessed unprecedented progress in road and bridge construction in the last over nine years, the notable among them being the Atal Setu at Basohli, Keediyan Gadyal and Juthana bridges in Kathua, Devika Bridge at Udhampur, new National Highway from Khilani-Marmat in Doda to Sudhmahadev, Kaljugar tunnel etc. Chattergala is a historic landmark project providing all-weather alternate road connectivity between the two distant regions and reducing the travel time from Doda to Lakhanpur to just around four hours. Chattergala Project envisages a 6.8 Km long tunnel for which the Feasibility Survey has already been conducted by Border Roads Organisation.

Rail Infrastructure

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the country’s longest railway tunnel on the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link on Feb 20, 2024. The 12.77-km-long tunnel, known as T-50, is part of the Banihal-Khari-Sumber-Sangaldan section, allowing trains to run from Baramulla to Sangaldan. The total length of the USBRL is 272 km and the cost of the project is Rs 41,119 crore.

Medical Colleges and Health Care infrastructure

Over the last 9 years, the constituency has witnessed a boom in medical colleges with 3 colleges opening in a short span, and an AIIMS.

Chenab Rail Bridge

The highest railway bridge in the world higher than the Eiffel tower and Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookherjee tunnel, the longest road tunnel, is located in this constituency.

Inter Modal Station

The establishment of an Inter Modal Station (IMS) at Katra located in this constituency will open numerous opportunities for the people in terms of religious tourism.

Katra-Delhi Express road corridor

The Katra-Delhi Express Road Corridor is a proposed infrastructure project aimed at significantly reducing travel time between Katra, the base camp for the Vaishno Devi pilgrimage, and the national capital, Delhi. The project envisions a modern expressway with reduced congestion and improved travel efficiency. While specifics about the project’s timeline and current status are limited, its completion promises to bolster connectivity, enhance tourism, and stimulate economic growth in the region.

First seed processing plant of J&K

Seed Processing Plant with 16 lakh seed generation and 24 lakh seed processing capacity, the first-of-its-kind, have come up in this entire region. The new Seed Processing Plant will be catering not only to district Kathua but also to the entire Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir and the two adjacent States of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. This will not only enrich the quality of crops sown by them but also enable them to procure seed of a superior quality at a lesser cost which, will in turn raise the margin of their profit in the market.

Healthcare hub

Kathua-Udhampur-Doda’ Parliamentary Constituency could be the future ‘Health Circuit’ of India with state-of-the-art Healthcare Facilities like 3 Medical Colleges, AIIMS, Biotech Park etc. The establishment of Daycare Chemotherapy Unit at GMC Kathua affiliated to Tata Memorial Hospital today, cancer treatment is going to become accessible and affordable.

Who Stands Where

BJP Looks Set for a Hattrick

The Udhampur Lok Sabha seat has been with the BJP for 10 years. Dr Jitendra Singh, who holds the important position of MoS at the Prime Minister’s Office, has been fielded by the BJP for a third time, and looks set to win the constituency once again. Although the BJP is believed to be the frontrunner to win the seat, Udhampur is now witnessing a high-pitched and tough contest between Jitendra Singh and Congress’ Choudhary Lal Singh.

Among the factors working in favour of the BJP, the biggest is the normalisation of the situation in neighbouring Kashmir, inauguration of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya etc. Extravagant rallies and events had been organised across Udhampur to celebrate the consecration of Ram Lalla at the new temple in Ayodhya.

Congress Putting Up a Brave Fight

Congress candidate Choudhary Lal Singh is a firebrand leader who, coincidentally, was earlier in the BJP and even served as a Minister in the BJP-PDP government of the state. After the Abrogation of Article 370, he quit the BJP. Lal Singh is an advocate of restoration of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, especially job and land security, in the form of Article 371.

Lal Singh is also facing criminal investigation and is currently out on bail in a money laundering case registered by the Enforcement Directorate.

Ghulam Nabi Azad’s Wildcard Candidate

Congress’s dream of a Muslim vote consolidation has been dashed by former Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad complicating the electoral calculations. The Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) of Ghulam Nabi Azad has fielded G.M Saroori, in Udhampur. Saroori, although a former minister and two-time MLA, has limited influence, with most of his supporters restricted to the Kishtwar belt.

Nevertheless, he, along with the BSP candidate in the seat, could lead to Muslim and Dalit votes splitting. This would surely help Dr Jitendra Singh.

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