Ishfaq-ul-Hassan | India Tomorrow
SRINAGAR—BJP seems to have failed in its first test post-abrogation of Article 370 after results show that people have overwhelmingly voted for People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) in Jammu and Kashmir District Development Council (DDC) polls.
Till 4 pm on Tuesday, PAGD had won 22 seats and was leading in 66. BJP had won six and leading in 49 seats. Congress had won three seats and leading in 19, while J&K Apni Party had won four and leading in seven seats. Independents had won 15 and leading in 39 segments.
Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) is a conglomerate of six major political parties including National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peoples Conference, Awami National Conference, CPIM and Jammu, and Kashmir Peoples Movement. It was formed to fight for the restoration of the special status and statehood.
PAGD is contesting the majority of 280 DDC seats in Jammu and Kashmir. However, all the constituents used their respective party symbols.
What made a victory sweet for PAGD was that PDP youth president Waheed ur Rehman Para won polls from jail. 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.
Reports said that Para got 1322 votes. His closest rival Sajad Ahmad Raina of BJP got 314 votes.
“Couldn’t be prouder of PDPs @parawahid who won his maiden election by a huge margin of votes. Despite being arrested on baseless charges right after filing his nomination people have shown their love & trust for Waheed. Hope justice prevails,” said Mehbooba Mufti, former chief minister, and PAGD vice-president.
Earlier, Mehbooba Mufti had said that the government was implicating Wahid to blackmail and intimidate PDP and other mainstream political parties in J&K who have decided to contest polls. She also vouched for his innocence and even shared a video of former Union home minister and now Defence Minister Rajnath Singh praising Para for organizing a mega political rally for central leaders.
What has given BJP a ray of hope is that it opened the account in Muslim majority Kashmir by winning three seats. Aijaz Hussain, BJYM vice president, won from two constituencies of Balhama and Tulail. A BJP woman candidate won from Kakpora.
“This victory belongs to the party workers of Kashmir who have shed their blood. This is the beginning of the end of terrorism, the Gupkar Gang, and separatism from the valley. This is the victory of Modi’s vision, aspiration of common people of the valley, and BJP’s Kashmir Karyakartas,” said Vibodh Gupta, BJP J&K general secretary.
This was the first election after Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 was revoked last year and the state was downgraded into two union territories.
A day ahead of the counting, authorities detained several PDP and second rung NC leaders, including Naeem Akhtar, Sartaj Madni, Peer Mansoor and Hilal Ahmad Lone. No reason was given for the detentions.
“Total lawlessness as PDPs Sartaj Madni & Mansoor Hussain have been arbitrarily detained today on the eve of DDC election results. Every senior police officer here is clueless as it is ‘upar say order’. No rule of law in J&K anymore. It is out & out Gunda Raj,” said Mehbooba.