Jammu and Kashmir District Development Council elections are taking place in the newly formed Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
They mark the continuation of a democratic electoral process in the union territory after the abrogation of the special status of the erstwhile state on 5 August 2019. But not all the elections are as democratic as they seem. At least this is what the opposition in the region is alleging.
Several workers of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, or PAGD, like Waheed Ur Rehman Para, have got arrested while campaigning for the DDC polls. Para was allegedly supporting anti national activities and was arrested by NIA.
Other candidates from the opposition parties have been given a fixed time slot in which they are allowed to campaign. Many candidates are forced to travel in one car after first visiting their local police stations, which hardly leaves them hardly any time to campaign.
The BJP wants to win this election at every cost. If BJP wins this election, then it will send a message at national and international platforms in the favour of the party. BJP’s win will push a message that everything is fine in the valley and people of the region are satisfied with the policies of the government.
It will signal the international community, especially the new Joe Biden administration in the US, that the people of Kashmir support the revocation of Article 370 move by the government.
The DDC election will loudly and clearly announce the voice of the people of Jammu and Kashmir that that finds little space in wake of a 4G internet restrictions. Probably that is why the BJP, just before the election, changed its tactics.
The party was aware that attacking the Gupkar Alliance as ‘anti-national’ could favour the PAGD as the word has been continuously used to label critics of the BJP. The BJP has now brought the Roshni land scam to people’s attention to the alleged corruption of the Abdullahs and the Muftis.
To show to the people of Kashmir that the PAGD could not be trusted, the names of the alleged ‘beneficiaries’ of the Roshni land scam —former finance minister Haseeb Drabu, Farooq Abdullah’s sister Suraiya Abdullah, Congress leaders K.K. Amla and Mushtaq Ahmad Chaya along with prominent bureaucrats and businessmen — are being brought to the public’s attention.