In the past few weeks specially after the announcement of District Development Council (DDC) elections, political activities in the region have increased manifold. It was announced on November 4 by KK Sharma, J&K Election Commissioner, and Hridesh Kumar, Chief Electoral Officer, that DDC elections in the Union Territory will start from November 28 and take place in eight phases. Since then, politics has heated up in the region.
Mehbooba Mufti, PDP Chief and vice-chairperson of the “People’s Alliance for Gupkar declaration (PAGD)”, arrived in Jammu city on Thursday to attend a PAGD meeting and meet party leaders and workers. Her visit also invited the protest of many organizations which were angry with her recent controversial statement regarding the national flag. Protesters showed her black flags outside Jammu airport.
Farooq Abdullah, Chairperson of the Gupkar Alliance and National Conference (NC) President, and NC Vice-President Omar Abdullah reached Jammu on Friday. They visited the party office in Jammu and addressed their party workers. They attacked the Modi government and reiterated their vow to fight for the restoration of Article 370 and 35A.
Leaders of the Gupkar Alliance organized a meeting at the Jammu residence of Farooq Abdullah on Saturday where they also held discussions with various delegates. Their meeting drew sharp criticism from various fronts. Many political and social organisations accused that the Gupkar Alliance of trying to spread their ‘anti-national and communal agenda’.
PAGD spokesperson Sajad Lone briefed the press after a day-long meeting of the alliance. In the presence of other PAGD leaders, he announced that the alliance will contest DDC elections. He said that the alliance has unanimously decided that they will contest these elections jointly despite the abrupt timing. He added that this space is too sacred to be left for the invaders to invade.
In 2018, both NC and PDP had boycotted urban local bodies and Panchayat elections. The boycott left the entire space for BJP resulting in Panches and Sarpanches of the party at various parts of the valley. Political enthusiasts say that the PAGD’s decision to contest DDC elections is just to ensure that the BJP doesn’t get empty grounds.
On Monday, the BJP announced its first list of candidates for the DDC elections. The list includes the names of 35 candidates in the Jammu region and 37 names in the Kashmir valley. J&K BJP Chief Ravinder Raina told India Today that this time, it is going to be BJP vs Gupkar Gang. PDP insulted the national flag and the fight will be between nationalists and anti-nationalists.