Results of District Development Council (DDC) elections in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will be released today. In these elections, the contest was mainly between the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration and the BJP.
The results of these DDC elections are very important for both the People’s Alliance and the BJP. Elections are being held in Jammu and Kashmir first time after the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution which removed special status of the erstwhile state. It also ended its statehood and changed the region into a Union Territory. Hence, results of these DDC elections will be, in a way, referendum on the nullification of Article 370.
For these elections, main oppositional parties of the BJP formed an alliance named People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration. It is a pre-poll alliance of Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP, Omar Abdullah’s National Conference and the Congress. While this alliance fought the election for restoration of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir by undoing the nullification of Article 370 of the Constitution, the BJP decided to choose a strategy of villainising opposition and use the development issues.
Another party named Apni Party by Altaf Bukhari can also play an important part in these elections. It was formed in March this year. It is widely believed that Apni Party candidates and some independent ones are supported by the BJP.
Suhail Bukhari, PDP head of communications, told the Times of India that the alliance campaigned promising that it would oppose all the “unconstitutional and illegal” decisions of the Narendra Modi government on the people of the erstwhile state. He said that they will remove all unconstitutional laws on Jammu and Kashmir which are disempowering the people politically, economically and in every sense. On the other hand, the BJP focused its campaign on development issues and on criticizing the demands of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration.
Shahnawaz Hussain, BJP spokesperson and former Union minister, said the party contested the election mainly on the development issues. He said that for them, DDC stands for development, dynasty-free and corruption free Kashmir. Shahnawaz alleged that the Mehbooba Mufti has contributed nothing to development of the state. Her party has just emotionally exploited the people and did not carry out any development work.
While many senior BJP leaders campaigned during these elections, opposition leaders didn’t seem that much enthusiastic while campaigning. No senior Congress leader and NC’s Abdullahs step on the ground promoting their candidates. There were also allegations against the J&K administration that they restricted campaigning of PAGD candidates citing security reasons. The administration had denied these allegations.