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J&K may see triangular fight in district council polls

Farooq Abdullah leads the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration. Photo: PTI   | Photo Credit: PTI

Jammu and Kashmir is all set to see a triangular contest between the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), the J&K Apni Party (JKAP) and the BJP in the coming maiden eight-phase District Development Council (DDC) polls, also the first ever elections since the removal of the special status last year.

Also read: Congress to take part in upcoming DDC elections in Jammu and Kashmir

The Gupkar alliance — an amalgam of seven political parties including the National Conference (NC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Peoples Conference, the Congress and the CPI(M) — on Thursday announced a first joint list of candidates for the first phase, starting from November 28.

Approved by Farooq

The list was approved by PAGD chief Farooq Abdullah after days of haggling over seat sharing between the alliance partners. “The approved PAGD candidates have filed their papers,” PAGD spokesman and PC chief Sajad Lone said.

The alliance has fielded 27 candidates, including 21 from the NC, four from the PDP and two from the PC for the first phase.

The BJP has also announced a list of around 89 candidates, including 24 women, and fielded them in constituencies spread in all 20 districts of the Union Territory (UT).

Also read: J&K district council polls soon

“People of Kashmir have understood the situation. They can’t be fooled. If our party wins the polls, J&K will see development,” BJP State general secretary Ashok Koul said.

The JKAP, a party that was floated post August 5 last year and managed to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is also contesting from most of the constituencies.

“We welcome the decision taken by the Gupkar alliance regarding the polls. It took [the NC founder] the late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah 22 years to realise the right track, while the alliance chose the right path in less than a month. It was good to see leaders associated with the PAGD shunning the emotional slogans,” JKAP president Altaf Bukhari said.

Key fight

The DDC polls are considered crucial for all the parties to strengthen and retain traditional base at the grassroot level. The fight will be primarily between the Gupkar alliance partners and the BJP on most seats.

Also read: Gupkar alliance to contest in J&K District Development Council polls jointly

However, the JKAP has roped in many known faces — like former ministers Usman Majid of the Congress, Zulfikar Choudhary of the PDP and Hassan Mir of the Democratic Party Nationalist — both from Kashmir and Jammu regions to make electoral gains, which it would like to build on for the Assembly polls to emerge as a political player. The JKAP is bound to split Muslim votes, as the Gupkar alliance would make a bid to consolidate it.

“The Congress has opposed the policy of the BJP to snatch the rights of people in Jammu and Kashmir. The alliance will flush out the BJP not only from Kashmir but from the whole Jammu and Kashmir,” Congress leader Taj Mohiuddin said during a rally.

The public meeting held in Baramulla’s Uri on Thursday was the first ever public rally held by any politician since August 5 last year in Kashmir.

Meanwhile, by-elections for vacant panchayat and urban local bodies seats will also be held simultaneously during these polls, which will conclude on December 22.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 8:24:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/jk-may-see-triangular-fight-in-district-council-polls/article33087038.ece

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