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Opinion

Gupkar sweeps the valley, Jammu’s largest BJP

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A newly formed grouping of six parties made major political breakthroughs in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and was on track to win more than 100 out of 280 seats in the recent District Development Council (DDC) elections, the first major exercise. Direct voting in the region after the removal of its special status in August last year, trends and results showed on Tuesday.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which featured central ministers like Jitendra Singh and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi to campaign in the eighth phase elections, was poised to take second place. Congress was about to become a distant third.

The result was as expected: while the People’s Alliance for the Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), comprising two Kashmiri powers, the National Conference (NC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and four other parties swept the region from the Muslim-majority Kashmir (140 seats), the BJP took another step toward consolidating its political influence in Hindu-dominated Jammu (140 seats).

The PAGD was “deeply in debt and grateful to the people of J&K,” North Carolina leader and former Prime Minister Omar Abdullah said on Twitter, reaffirming the group’s “commitment to use all democratic and legal weapons at our disposal. to continue fighting for our rights. “

“The BJP had made this election a prestigious issue on the special status of Art 370 & J&K. The people have now spoken and it is for those who believe in democracy to pay attention to these voices, ”he published.

On August 5, 2019, the central government annulled Article 370, which gave a special status to the then J&K state, and forked it into two Union Territories: J&K with a legislative assembly and Ladakh without one, sparking protests. generalized.

The PAGD, which also comprises the Peoples ‘Conference, the Communist Party of India-Marxist, the Peoples’ Movement and the Awami National Conference, took shape in October 2020 to demand the restoration of the special status of the old state.

“Today’s DDC results have made it clear that the people of J&K voted en masse for @JKPAGD, thereby rejecting the unconstitutional decision to repeal Article 370. They have overwhelmingly supported @JKPAGD, which represents the restoration of J & K’s special status. ”Mehbooba Mufti, leading PDP and another former prime minister, tweeted.

However, PDP chief spokesman Suhail Bukhari said the alliance hoped to improve.

On the BJP camp, the party’s J&K spokesperson, Anil Gupta, called the results a “victory for democracy” and a “slap in the face” for those who said the Kashmiri people had lost faith in democracy after the Decision of the Article 370 Center. “The BJP did well in all of J&K …” he said.

J&K BJP President Ravinder Raina said: “We would win 70-80 seats on our own, and we also expect 30-40 independents supported by us to win. Therefore, we anticipate a great victory. “

Of the 231 seats whose results were declared at 10:00 p.m., the PAGD won 92, the BJP 59, the Congress 19 and the Apni Party of former minister Altaf Bujari eight seats, according to official figures from the State Electoral Authority of the UT by J&K. The other seats went to independents and smaller parties.

While the PAGD disputed 220 seats, the BJP 183, the Congress 118 and the Apni Party 134 seats.

Profits or trends were available for 278 seats, while the count was going on in many venues late into the night. The Election Commission stopped counting at two seats, in which each of the contestants was found to be from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, according to election officials. Final results were expected at or after midnight.

In Jammu, the PAGD won or led in 26 seats, the BJP in 72 seats and Congress in 17 seats at 10:15 pm, according to provisional figures. And in Kashmir, the PAGD won or led in 84 seats, the BJP in three seats, and Congress in nine seats.

While the PAGD candidates performed exceptionally in southern, central and northern Kashmir, the alliance failed in the Srinagar district (14 seats), where BJP candidate Ajaz Hussain recorded a significant victory in the seat of Kanmoh II. Apart from this, the other seats that the BJP won or led in the Kashmir Valley were Tulail and Kakapora in Pulwama.

Another highlight of the results was the leader of the PPD, Waheed Para, who is under house arrest for his alleged links with militants. He won in his Pulwama constituency by a large margin.

J&K State Congress Chairman Ghulam Ahmad Mir said the results spelled defeat for the BJP. “They brought in the main ministers and leaders of the Union for the electoral campaign. Still, they couldn’t win more than 50-60 seats. This shows that people have rejected their slogans, ”he said.

Held under the shadow of Covid-19, the elections witnessed a 51.76% turnout in the eight phases from November 29 to December 19, and were the first major direct voting exercise since the annulment of Article 370. The year last October, Block Development Council elections were held at J&K, although NC and the PDP boycotted them.

Political analyst Pervaz Majeed said the PAGD should have won more seats in the DDC elections.

“In the context of the situation on August 5, 2019, the enthusiasm of the people in these elections should surprise many. After the panchayat elections of 2011 and the elections to the assembly of 2014, this was an electoral exercise that had a good participation of the people.

“Also, it is a great political development that the BJP found candidates in Kashmir who fought on its ballot and actually led the party’s campaign,” said Majeed, assistant professor of journalism at the University of Kashmir.

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