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Jammu Kashmir DDC poll results mark watershed moment in the new UT

Over 50 per cent people participated in these elections, including over 43 per cent from the strife-torn valley

Wednesday December 23, 2020 12:10 PM, Sheikh Qayoom, IANS

Kashmir DDC Polls

Srinagar: The District Development Council (DDC) results in Jammu and Kashmir mark a watershed moment in the democratic process of the newly formed union territory.

Over 50 per cent people participated in these elections, including over 43 per cent from the strife-torn valley.

So much participation by the people in the first democratic process in J&K after August 5, 2019 marks a watershed moment as it happened despite the abrogation of articles 370, 35A and downgrading of the state into a union territory.

Fears expressed by the regional leaders, including the former Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, that the Centre was planning mass rigging of these elections have all proved to be ill-founded.

The peaceful conduct of the electoral process must go to the credit of UT's administration headed by the Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha.

The security forces, especially, the local police ensured that the militants are prevented from causing any disruption of the electoral process.

Winners and losers in these elections which started on November 28 and ended in eight phases on December 19, could have far-reaching political consequences in the days to come.

Largely blamed for dynastic politics and corruption by its opponents, the National Conference (NC) headed by Dr. Farooq Abdullah, has stood out in these elections as a force to reckon with. The NC might have been down, but it is not out.

The seven-party alliance called the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) headed by Dr. Abdullah has scored 105 seats in the 280 DDC constituencies, thereby emerging as the largest alliance in J&K.

The PAGD has established its presence in both divisions of J&K winning clear a majority in Ramban and Kishtwar districts of Jammu division by winning seven seats in each of these.

In the valley, the alliance has swept the polls and is sure to control at least seven out of the 10 districts.

On its own, the NC has won 63 out of the 266 results declared so far while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has emerged as the single largest party with 74 seats so far.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has won 26, the Peoples Conference (PC) 8, CPI-M 5 and the JK Peoples Movement (JKPM) 3, all these are part of the PAGD.

The Congress has won 23, the JK Apni Party headed by Altaf Bukhari 12, JK Panthers Party (JKNPP) 2, Peoples Democratic Front (PDF) 2 and the BSP one seat.

A potential number, 47 seats have gone to independents. Interestingly, in the prestigious Srinagar district, independents had a field day by winning 7 out of 14 seats.

For the first time, the BJP has registered its presence in the valley by winning 3 seats, one each in Srinagar, Bandipora and Pulwama districts.

The party is celebrating its 3-seat victory in the valley. Several senior BJP leaders, including Shahnawaz Hussain, Simriti Irani, Tarun Chugh and others campaigned for the party in the valley.

The DDCs are part of the 3-tier Panchayati Raj system which is completely dedicated to development at the grassroots level.

Except for the JK Apni party all other contesting parties hardly spoke of development during their electoral campaign.

The DDC elections were fought on the emotional slogan, whether you stood against or for the abrogation of Article 370 and the special status of J&K.

The PAGD is celebrating its victory as vindication of its stand that Articles 370, 35A and downgrading of the state was done against the wishes of the people and in the most arbitrary manner.

Encouraged by the numbers, the PAGD got in the DDC results, former Chief Minister and NC Vice President Omar Abdullah said the results are an eye-opener for those who stood for the abrogation of Article 370.

Among the prominent winners are Waheed-ur-Rehman Parra of the PDP who won the election despite being presently in NIA detention.

Other prominent winners include former ministers, Taj Mohiuddin of the Congress, Shamlal Sharma and Safeena Beigh, wife of former deputy Chief minister, Muzaffar Hussain Beigh.

Among the losers are four sons of former ministers, Mula Ram, Madan Lal Sharma, Mirza Abdul Rashid and the son of J&K Congress president and former minister, G.A. Mir.

In a nutshell, these results have clearly shown that the people of J&K have complete faith in the country's democratic system, that the NC and the PDP are not down and out, but continue to be the major players in J&K's politics, that the emergence of a viable alternative to well entrenched political parties in J&K is still a far cry, that the Kashmir Valley and the Chenab Valley region have endorsed the PAGD for its stand against the abrogation of Article 370, and finally that the magic of the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi remains intact in the districts of Jammu, Kathua, Samba, Reasi and Udhampur.

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