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‘Kahin khushi, kahin gham’: Taj, Para romp home; Bukhari, Thakur taste defeat

Srinagar: The maiden J&K District Development Council (DDC) poll results have had many hits and misses with hopeful candidates tasting defeat and dark horses romping home.

Jailed Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) youth leader Waheed-ur-Rehman Para was among the prominent candidates of Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) to win polls.

Para was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for alleged militant links a day after he had filed his nomination from the Pulwama seat on November 24. 

PDP additional spokesman Dr. Harbaksh Singh also emerged victorious from Tral segment.

While senior Congress leader Taj Mohiuddin won from Parenpillan seat in Baramulla district, J&K Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) chairman GA Mir’s son Naseer Mir lost from Verinag in south Kashmir. Mir lost to former Congress leader Peer Shahbaz, who fought the elections as an independent candidate. Peer had been ousted from the Congress when denied a party ticket to DDC elections from Verinag.

BJP spokesman Altaf Thakur (from Dadsara-Tral), PDP spokesperson Suhail Bukhari and Apni Party candidate Shoaib Lone were among the other well-known faces who lost the DDC elections.

Incidentally, both Bukhari and Lone lost to independent candidate Irfan Hafeez from the Sangrama segment in North Kashmir.

Independent candidate and wife of former PDP leader Muzaffar Baigh won from Wagoora in North Kashmir.

There were celebrations in the BJP camp as the party has never won an assembly or Parliamentary election in the Valley. Though the party had won over 100 seats in 2018 municipal elections, the BJP was not given due credit for the victory due to the poll-boycott by the National Conference and the Peoples’s Democratic Party.

BJP leader Aijaz Hussain, who emerged victorious from Khanmoh II, Srinagar, said he had won because of prime minister Narendra Modi’s ‘popularity’ in Kashmir.

“I got this seat due to Modiji’s popularity in Kashmir. This constituency (Khanmoh) will become a model constituency and we will show people what development looks like,” he said.

Hussain said the ‘open support’ to BJP in Kashmir proved that the party was not an outcast anymore.

“There was a time when nobody was willing to take the name of BJP but now people are openly supporting us and celebrating our victory,” he said.

Other BJP candidates who emerged victorious included Aajaz Ahmad from Tulail in Bandipur district and Minha Lateef from Kakapora in Pulwama district.

BJP J&K general secretary and in charge Kashmir Vibodh Gupta said the party had “scripted history” by recording three victories in the valley’.

 “The election results are a foundation of Naya Kashmir and Modi’s vision is winning Kashmir. This victory belongs to the party workers of Kashmir,” he said

However, the National Conference said the people had given a “message” to New Delhi by voting for the PAGD candidates. “We were not given a chance to reach out to the people and not given security. We were not allowed to campaign and our polling agents were detained. It was one-sided…BJP provided security and money to their own party only. We only won through God’s grace and support of people…they indulged in brazen violations but the people gave their mandate today. This is the message of people to the leadership in Delhi and government in J&K,” said Salman Sagar, who emerged victorious from ULB blocks of Soura and Solina.