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J&K DDC polls: PAGD scores a home run, BJP debuts in Kashmir, flop show for Apni Party

Srinagar: Despite high pitch campaign by BJP top brass in J&K for District Development Council (DDC) polls, the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) on Tuesday emerged the likely winner of the first major electoral exercise after the abrogation of Article 370.

Amid a BJP tirade against the ‘Gupkar gang’, the PAGD led by National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah fairly swept the maiden DDC polls in the Kashmir valley. The only silver lining for the BJP was the victory of three candidates from the Valley even as the Saffron party won the maximum number of seats from Jammu region.

 

However, the PAGD that comprises six political parties made significant inroads in Jammu region as well.

Results of 276 seats out of 280 were announced so far. The PAGD has won 110 seats (NC’s 67+ PDP’s 27+JKPC’s 8+CPIM’s 5+JKPM’s 3 seats) across the union territory. While the NC emerged victorious from 67 seats, the PDP bagged 27. The BJP won 74 seats while the independents won 49. The Congress won 25 and Apni Party managed only 12 seats.

Voting was held in 280 seats — 14 in each of the 20 districts of the union territory — in eight phases over a period of 25 days. Results are yet to be declared for one district.

In Jammu province, the BJP won 71 seats, while the Gupkar Alliance won 35. The Congress managed to win 17 seats.

In Kashmir, the Farooq Abdullah-led alliance got 72 seats, the BJP won 3, and the Congress got 10.

While the BJP went gaga over its win from Khanmoh II, Tulail and Kakpora seats from the Valley, NC vice-president Omar Abdullah questioned the ‘over play’ of BJP winning three seats in Kashmir and downplaying of PAGD good show in Jammu.

The PAGD leaders were also quick to observe that the people voted against the centre’s decision to strip J&K’s special status on August 5 last year, but the BJP maintained that the DDC elections were about development.

“I understand the temptation to over play the 3 seats the BJP has won in the valley but why underplay the 35 wins/leads of the @JKPAGD in Jammu province. We aren’t Kashmir based parties, we are political parties with strong support in both Kashmir AND Jammu,” NC vice-president Omar Abdullah wrote on the micro-blogging website Twitter.

“The @JKPAGD is an alliance that emerged out of the betrayal of the people of J&K on 5th Aug 2019. We have faced every obstacle – illegal detentions, agency threats & pressures, our candidates were locked up to stop them campaigning  & from all this we are emerging victorious….The BJP had made this election a prestige issue about Art 370 & J&K’s special status. The people have now spoken & it’s for those who believe in democracy to pay heed to these voices.”

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti echoed similar views and tweeted: “Todays DDC results have made it clear that people of J&K voted en masse for @JKPAGD thus rejecting the unconstitutional decision to abrogate Article 370. They have overwhelmingly supported @JKPAGD which stands for restoration of J&Ks special status.”

BJP national spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain, who has been camping in the Valley for the past many weeks, said ‘democracy’ had emerged victorious.

“Democracy has won. People used to call BJP one-two percent party in Kashmir but today our vote share has increased significantly. Several independents supported by the BJP have won too and we will be in a strong position in several District Development Councils,” the BJP spokesman told reporters.