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Has BJP’s decision to hold DDC elections in Jammu and Kashmir backfired?

Home Minister Amit Shah called the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) ‘Gupkar Gang’ and accused it of colluding with foreign forces. PAGD is an alliance of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), People’s Conference (PC), National Conference (NC), Communist Party (CPI-M), Awami National Conference (ANC) and Congress.

Amit Shah’s remark didn’t go very well with many in the region. Former Chief Minister of the erstwhile state Omar Abdullah said that the decision of the PAGD to contest upcoming DDC elections has frustrated Amit Shah. PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti said that the Home Minister is trying to divert the attention of people from rising unemployment and inflation in the nation by his remark.

The first DDC elections in Jammu and Kashmir will be held in 8 phases from November 28 to December 22

It was rumoured that the Central Government’s decision to organize the first DDC elections, was motivated by a strong belief among decision-makers in the BJP that the Gupkar Alliance would not participate in the elections.

Through their many interactions with the main political parties in the Gupkar Alliance, both the J&K administration and senior central government figures probably would have thought that the parties involved would not participate in any election kind of elections in the region until their main demands related to the newly-introduced laws on J&K were met.

Many of those who understand the grassroot politics of the J&K say that it is very much expected that the alliance will win the DDC elections with a great margin especially in the valley. Even, the BJP seems to believe that its performance is not going to be that good. In many areas of Jammu including Doda, Kishtwar, Rajouri and Poonch, the Gupkar alliance has huge chances of winning DDC elections.

In the Jammu region, the BJP traditionally gives tough competition to other parties but it will be interesting to see if this time BJP repeats history as some people are not happy with the government’s decision to change laws.

Many political analysts note that by announcing to contest the DDC elections, the alliance has checkmate the BJP. BJP had thought that it would single-handedly win the elections as there would be no competitor in the newly announced system of DDCs. If the alliance gets more seats then the BJP, which seems to be the case, then it would signal that majority of people in the region don’t support the Central Government’s decision to revoke special status and bifurcate J&K.

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