The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) secured victory in 75 seats in the District Development Council elections in Jammu and Kashmir. The party managed its victory in 3 seats in Kashmir. However, the number might sound insignificant but it is very important for the saffron party.
It was expected earlier that BJP will perform quite well in Jammu and more or less it did so by winning 72 seats, more than half of the total DDC seats in the region. In Kashmir, BJP had been unsuccessful to establish itself in the region. But, three of its winners have opened a pathway for the party to enter into the valley.
Three BJP candidates who won are Aijaz Hussain Rather, an engineer, Ajjaz Raja, a double postgraduate in English and political science, and Minha Lateef, a law student.
35-year-old Aijaz Hussain Rather joined BJP in 2006. He used to work as an engineer before. He won from one of the 14 constituencies in Srinagar. He is also serving as national vice president of the BJP’s youth wing.
He completed his high school from the Aligarh Muslim University. Then, he moved to Chennai for studying engineering. Gradually, his interest in politics grew and he found himself appreciating what BJP stands for. In 2008, he was appointed as district secretary of Yuva Morcha Srinagar. Four years later in 2012, he was made district secretary of BJP and then state vice president of BJP Yuva Morcha in 2013. In 2016, he was appointed as the national vice president.
Aijaz is well-known among his party colleagues not only in Jammu and Kashmir but also across India. He has also worked with senior BJP leader Ram Madhav closely.
35-year-old Ajjaz Raja is another BJP candidate who won from Kashmir’s Gurez region. However, he is not new to politics. In 2018, he won the sarpanch seat from his village in local body elections. Last year, he was elected as Block Development Council chairperson by panchs and sarpanchs. Raja has pursued double Masters in English and political science. Earlier, he was associated with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for almost four years. However, early this year Raja and his father Faqir Khan, an ex-MLA from the PDP, joined BJP.
21-year-old Minha Lateef is the third BJP candidate to win in the valley. She contested for the Pulwama region of troubled south Kashmir. She belongs to a political family and is daughter of the vice president of Jammu and Kashmir BJP Minority Morcha.