Srinagar: People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) suffered a major setback on Saturday when Apni Party candidates were elected chairperson and vice-chairperson of District Development Councils (DDCs) in Srinagar and Shopian.
However, CPI-M candidate was elected chairperson of DDC in the Kulgam district. CPIM is one of the five constituents of PAGD.
The only consolation for the National Conference, an important constituent of PAGD, was that it won vice-chairman seat in Kulgam district.
Though PAGD) had won the majority of seats in the recently concluded DDC polls in the Kashmir valley, independent candidates played a key role in Srinagar and Shopian elections amid allegations of horse-trading.
However, Apni Party president Altaf Bukhari dismissed the allegations saying that a new generation of leaders have emerged after rejecting the ‘emotional politics’ of other regional parties.
“This is democracy. Independent candidates can go anywhere and they join a party that has got the right programme and doesn’t believe in hollow politics. This is the start of the political process and I congratulate the government for holding elections in a peaceful atmosphere. The leaders you see belong to the new generation. You won’t find any leader that has any connection with a political family. They don’t belong to hereditary politics,” said Bukhari.
Earlier, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) too batted for the emergence of new leadership in J&K, Bukhari said the ‘new generation leaders’ had realized that other regional parties achieved ‘nothing’.
“They realized nothing was achieved through the emotional politics in the past 72 years,” he said.
Incidentally, BJP’s DDC member from Srinagar Ajaz Hussain supported Apni Party. Apni Party’s Aftab Malik won the post of DDC chairman in Srinagar by securing 10 votes. Party’s Bilal Ahmad was elected as vice-chairperson after getting nine votes.
Runner-up NC and PDP candidates managed three and four votes for chairman and vice-chairman posts respectively.
In Shopian, Apni Party’s Bilqees Akhtar (eight votes) defeated rival PAGD candidate in a tight fight by two votes. The battle for the vice-chairman’s post in Shopian was tighter after Apni Party’s Iqbal Manhas was declared winner through a draw of lots post a tie.
In Kulgam, Mohammad Afzal was elected the DDC chairman with an absolute majority after getting the support of all the 13 candidates. Similarly, NC’s Shazia Poswal was elected vice-chairperson in the district.
“Kulgam will become a model for development. We will work to address issues related to sadak, bijli, paani, employment, education, etc,” said Afzal.
Apni Party leaders echoed similar views. “This is the victory of people. We have to work for the people and now we have the platform and we will resolve the issues. There are many issues but we will focus on resolving issues related to sadak, bijli, paani,” said Manhas.