J&K DDC Election Results: BJP bags 52 seats, opens account in Kashmir; Gupkar Alliance wins 82 constituencies
The BJP has surged past others in Jammu Province as it was ahead in 57 seats, while the Gupkar alliance led in 37. In Kashmir, the regional coalition was leading in 71 seats, with the BJP was trailing far behind at three
The seven-party Gupkar alliance led by Farooq Abdullah was ahead in the seat tally in the maiden District Development Council polls in Jammu and Kashmir by winning or leading in 112 seats out of 280 on Tuesday, followed by the BJP which had won 52 seats, including three in the Valley for the first time, and was frontrunner in 18.
The People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) has bagged 82 seats and is leading in 30. Thirty-eight Independents, mainly disgruntled leaders from all political parties, have been declared winners and the same number are leading in other seats.
The Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) put up a dismal performance by bagging seven seats and leading in another five. The Congress has so far won 19 seats and is leading in nine other council seats.
The eight-phase DDC polls, which began on November 28, is also the first election after Jammu and Kashmir's special status under Article 370 was revoked last year and it was reorganised into a Union Territory. In the election, 140 seats each in the Jammu and Kashmir regions went to polls.
The trends in most seats in the DDC elections are in accordance with expectations: the BJP maintained its strength in the Jammu division while the PAGD, which includes regional heavyweights the National Conference (NC) and the People's Democratic Party (PDP), is ahead in Kashmir, besides Pir Panchal and the Chenab Valley regions of Jammu.
Counting of votes for the eight-phase elections began at 9 am at the district headquarters. A total of 2,178 candidates were contesting in these elections: the first since the erstwhile state lost its special status under the Constitution on August 5, 2019.
There are 280 DDC seats: 14 in each of the 20 districts of the Union Territory. The DDC election is being seen as a fight between the BJP and other political parties in the region.
The elections to this third tier of the Panchayati Raj system were held for the first time in Jammu and Kashmir and were the first mass polls since the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019.
The polling was held over eight phases beginning of 28 November and ending on 19 December as 51 percent of the 57 lakh eligible voters exercised their franchise in the elections, which were largely peaceful.
Seven Kashmir-centric mainstream political parties, including the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party, contested the polls in an alliance under the banner of the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) formed for the restoration of Article 370.
The Congress was initially a part of the PAGD but distanced itself from the alliance as the BJP targeted the Opposition party for being in league with the 'Gupkar Gang'.
Although Congress went alone in the last seven phases, it is widely believed that its understanding with the PAGD remains intact.
Jailed PDP youth leader Waheed Para wins poll
PDP youth president Waheed Para, who is in the custody of the National Investigation Agency for alleged links with militants, won the DDC elections from Pulwama district in Jammu and Kashmir. Para defeated BJP candidate Sajad Ahmad Raina.
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said she was proud of her party's youth leader to register a win.
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. pic.twitter.com/MOU8gNUOic
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) December 22, 2020
Para was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on 25 November, a few days after filing nomination papers as a People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) candidate.
The NIA claimed Para was arrested in connection with the Naveed Babu-Davinder Singh case for supporting Hizbul Mujahideen in conspiracy with the other accused persons.
Para was considered to be a key motivator for youth to join mainstream politics in Pulwama and adjoining Shopian districts of south Kashmir when militancy was raising its head there again.
As secretary of Jammu and Kashmir Sports Council from 2016 to 2018, Para played a major role in organising sporting events in the nook and corner of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state which included the Ladakh region.
BJP’s Aijaz Hussain wins from Khonmoh-II
The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday won an election in Kashmir for the first time as its candidate Aijaz Hussain bagged the Khonmoh-II District Development Council seat in Srinagar, PTI reported.
Meanwhile, Vibodh Gupta, the party’s Jammu and Kashmir unit general secretary claimed that the results of the polls were a reflection of people’s faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership.
“The people of Kashmir exhibited their faith in PM Narendra Modi’s vision of Naya Kashmir, and sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas,” Gupta said. Commenting on Hussain’s victory, in particular, Gupta said that it belongs to party members in Kashmir “who have shed their blood fighting a tough battle against terrorism”.
“BJP’s maiden victories in DDC elections in Kashmir speak of two stories: one o
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