Vote share of BJP in DDC Elections shows people have rejected Gupkar says Anurag Thakur
SRINAGAR (J&K) —
In the recently held District Development Council (DDC) elections of Jammu and Kashmir, the amalgam of various political parties—People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD)—secured the highest number of seats. However, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged as the single-largest party with a total of 75 seats in its kitty.
Being the first elections to be held in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of the erstwhile state’s special status in August 2019, the regional parties including National Conference (NC), People’s Democratic Party (PDP), People’s Conference (PC), Jammu Kashmir People’s Movement (JKPM) and Communist Party of India (Marxist) decided to fight the elections under the banner of PAGD, with the objective to deny any seats to BJP, especially in Kashmir region.
However, BJP still won on three seats in the valley, the PAGD leaders didn’t leave any opportunity to propagate the verdict as people’s anger towards the Saffron party and its policies, including the decision to scrap Article 370 and extend and modify new laws to the Union Territory.
Even when the PAGD alliance won 110 seats, BJP secured the largest vote share in the Union Territory in the DDC Elections. Explaining the same, some experts pointed out that the voters didn’t vote specifically against BJP but for issues of development. This kept the vote share down for the PAGD candidates, and at many places, BJP and Independent candidates emerged surprise winners.
As far as the Indian National Congress (INC) is concerned, the party has been taking a confusing stance. It held meetings with PAGD members and agreed to be part of the alliance. However, later backtracked on its position and said that it will fight the elections along with the PAGD, but will partner at strategic constituencies. This was after being criticized by a few BJP leaders for partnering with ‘Gupkar Gang which seeks help from enemy forces’ like China and Pakistan.
It is pertinent to mention here that out of the 278 seats for which results have been declared by the J&K Election Commission so far, besides the PAGD and the BJP, Independent candidates have won 50, Congress 26, Apni Party 12, PDF and the National Panthers Party two each and the BSP one.
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 till further orders, officials said.
CPI(M) leader Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami said the result of the DDC Elections went in favour of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration and it was a clear indication that the people of Jammu and Kashmir want “restoration of their rights”.
Tarigami said, “The verdict is an eye-opener for the BJP government, which had launched a propaganda last August that people of Jammu and Kashmir have accepted its arbitrary and unconstitutional decision of revoking the erstwhile state’s special status under Article 370.”
Challenging the PAGD’s assertion that the people have spoken out against the abrogation of Article 370 in the DDC elections, Union Minister Anurag Thakur said the BJP and Independents got over 52 per cent votes which shows that the Gupkar Alliance has been rejected.
Noting that the BJP has emerged as the single-largest party and its vote share is more than the Gupkar Alliance, he claimed that those who were happy with the scrapping of Article 370 voted for the BJP and the Independents. “If you put the BJP and Independents vote share together, it makes over 52 percent votes. This shows J&K people have rejected the Gupkar Gang,” he said.
The people of Jammu and Kashmir have spoken out against “terrorism and separatism” and voted in favour of democracy and nationalism, the BJP leader, who was actively involved in the campaign, said.
Importantly, the poll results mean that the BJP has secured control of at least six DDCs in Jammu but none in Kashmir, where the People’s Alliance has a majority in nine DDCs.
Given the fact that there is no clear-cut majority in the five Councils, the Independent candidates do have a vital role. Although, the observers believe that Independent candidates are not going to be king makers in most cases, but there is still a lot of drama awaiting.
In fact, the drama has already unfolded as NC’s Omar Abdullah alleged that the winning Independent candidates are being transported to Srinagar for “discussions” with the BJP leadership.