J&K DDC polls: Gupkar alliance wins big; BJP emerges single-largest party

Independent candidates have won 50, Congress 26, Apni Party 12, PDF and the National Panthers Party two each and the BSP one.

The People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) have swept the first-ever District Development Council (DDC) polls held in Jammu and Kashmir after the state lost its special status to abrogation of Article 370. The Farooq Abdullah-led seven-party coalition, which comprises Abdullah’s National Conference (NC), and Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP), has won 110 seats. The BJP has, meanwhile, bagged 75 seats after securing the largest vote share in the polls, the results of which were declared Wednesday.

Out of the 278 seats for which results have been declared by the J-K Election Commission, Independents have won 50, Congress 26, Apni Party 12, PDF and the National Panthers Party two each and the BSP one seat. The results of two constituencies – one each in Bandipora and Kupwara districts of north Kashmir – are still awaited as counting of votes has been deferred there until further orders.

Among the PAGD constituents, the NC won the highest number of 67 seats, followed by PDP (27), People’s Conference (eight), CPI(M) five and J-K Peoples Movement (three), getting a total share of over 3.94 lakh votes together.

BJP has bagged a total of 4.87 lakh votes. While it won three seats in Kashmir, it managed to get a clear majority in five districts — Jammu, Kathua, Udhampur, Samba and Doda, and has an edge in Reasi district – all in the Jammu region.

Independents emerge as key player in J-K DDC polls

Independent candidates have emerged as big winners in Jammu and Kashmir’s maiden DDC polls, winning 49 seats, putting them ahead of parties like the Congress and the PDP.

Among the big Independent wins is Taranjit Singh defeating BJP’s two-time MLA and former minister Sham Lal Choudhary in Suchetgarh in Jammu region by a slender margin of 11 votes.

While the BJP has secured control of at least six District Development Councils (DDCs) in Jammu, it has none in Kashmir. The People’s Alliance has a majority in nine DDCs, all in the Valley. As there is no clear-cut majority in the five councils, the independent candidates are likely to play the role of king makers.

J&K administration trying to ‘collect’ Independent candidates for BJP, Omar alleges

National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah has alleged that the J&K authorities are “collecting” the independent candidates for the BJP. Taking to Twitter, Omar alleged than an an ex-MLC of the party was taken away by the police to prevent him from contacting the independent DDC members, and that the authorities are transporting the members to Srinagar for “discussions”.

“The administration has now taken on the responsibility of trying to collect independent candidates for the BJP & it’s recently formed subsidiary. It seems the government doesn’t have enough to do & has branched out in to this line of work as well,” he tweeted.

Addressing party workers at NC headquarters Nawa-i-Subah, he said the people have made clear their view by supporting the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) in the DDC polls. The NC leader also said he does not foresee assembly elections in the union territory anytime soon because of the poll results.

“If you really say that democracy has won, then you will have to listen to the voices of the people, and the people of Jammu and Kashmir have said it with a huge majority that they do not accept (the decisions of) August 5, 2019,” Abdullah said.

Modi govt restoring grassroots democracy in J-K: Shah

Union Home Minister Amit Shah hailed the BJP’s performance in the District Development Council (DDC) elections, saying the Modi government is doing everything to restore the grassroots democracy in the union territory.

In a series of tweets, Shah also thanked the people of Jammu and Kashmir for voting the BJP as the single largest party in the maiden DDC polls.

“The Modi government is doing everything possible to restore the grassroots democracy in Jammu & Kashmir. The recently held DDC polls for the first time in the history of J&K is the testimony of the same. The mass participation in these elections reflects people’s faith in democracy,” he tweeted.

Congratulating the people of Jammu and Kashmir for “such a great turnout” in the DDC elections, the home minister applauded the efforts of the security forces and local administration for successfully conducting these multi-phased elections as this will further boost the morale and trust of people of the UT in democracy.

Both the BJP and the People’s Alliance have termed the poll results as their success. While the BJP has termed the outcome and the voter turnout a contradiction to the “idea of Gupkar Alliance”, the People’s Alliance has said that the people have rejected the “unconstitutional decision to abrogate Article 370”.

(Inputs from PTI)

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