The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is putting many of its influencial leaders in J&K to campaign for the BJP candidates for the ongoing District Development Council (DDC) elections. This is the first time when polls are being conducted in the newly formed Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
On Wednesday, The BJP made public its another list of ‘star’ campaigners for the third and fourth phases of the ongoing DDC polls. The list includes Union textile minister Smriti Irani, former MP Surendra Nagar, MP and Punjabi singer Hansraj Hans, MP Ramesh Bidhuri and party national secretary Vijay Rahatkar.
Many other leaders like Union minister Dr Jitendra Singh and Anurag Thakur, who is also the election in-charge for J&K, party co-in charge J&K, Ashish Sood and J&K BJP president Ravinder Raina, are already campaigning for the party endorsed candidates.
DDC polls for 280 constituencies will be conducted in eight phases. These phases are:
- 28 November
- 1 December
- 4 December
- 7 December
- 10 December
- 13 December
- 16 December
- 19 December
The polling hours are from 7 am to 2 pm in all of these eight phases.
Many regional parties of Kashmir like Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the National Conference (NC) are accusing the J&K administration of siding with the BJP and providing them an initial advantage. However, the J&K administration including lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha and state election commissioner KK Sharma have denied these accusations.
The LG had told the Hindustan Times that there was full freedom in Jammu & Kashmir for political activities, but not for anti-national activities.
Election commissioner KK Sharma had also denied reports of PDP chief and former CM Mehbooba Mufti’s detention and said that no candidate was being stopped from campaigning. On Friday, he said that Mufti wanted to travel to Pulwama and she was advised not to go there because of security reasons. The PDP leader is not under detention.
In the first phase of polls, the J&K had recorded 51.76% voter turnout in polling followed by 48.62% in the second phase of polling. It is also reported that BJP MP Gautam Gambhir will also campaign in the DDC polls.