District Development Council (DDC) polls in Jammu and Kashmir are very significant in politics of the region as they are the first major political exercise after the scrapping of Article 370 in the last year. The top Congress leadership has not campaigned unlike other parties in these elections.
A senior J&K Congress leader admitted that they had asked the party to send some senior leaders to the campaign. Congress leaders in J&K demanded that some senior leaders should campaign for party candidates. The leader said that other than the two-day visit by Congress J&K in charge Rajni Patil to Jammu, no other leader visited the UT.
As top leaders stayed away from the polls, the local Congress leaders took the responsibility to campaign for the party candidates. Unlike the Congress, Union ministers and top BJP leaders have campaigned heavily for their candidates. When asked then J&K Congress vice-president Ghulam Nabi Monga downplayed the issue. He said that the DDC polls is a local election and it is better for local leaders to campaign.
Monga also took a dig at the BJP for sending Union ministers and top leaders to campaign in the DDC elections. He said it seems that BJP either does not has faith in its local leadership or the local leadership is not competent enough to win these polls on their own.
Top BJP leaders like Union Ministers Jitendra Singh, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Anurag Thakur, Partap Sarangi, Smriti Irani, Himachal Pradesh CM Jai Ram Thakur, and other leaders like Dushyant Gautam General VK Singh, Shahnawaz Hussain and Tarun Chug, Zaffar-ul-Islam have campaigned for their party candidates.
The DDC polls are being held in eight separate phases. There are 280 constituencies across 20 districts in which DDC polls will be contested. By now, voters of 221 constituencies have voted.
The first phase of these polls took place on November 28 and received a polling percentage of 51.76 which is highest so far in other phases. Following phases on December 1, 4, 7, 10 and 13 received 48.62 per cent, 50.53 per cent, 50.08 per cent, 51.20 per cent and 51.5 per cent polling, respectively.
Out of the total 280 seats, there are 140 each in Jammu and Kashmir. In Jammu, it will be a contest between the BJP, Congress and the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) while in Kashmir, Apni party is also expected to have a major influence in the region.