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

Members of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration in Jammu on Saturday.

Members of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration in Jammu on Saturday.

Amid protests by right wing parties, six constituents of the People’s Alliance for the Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) held a meeting in Jammu on Saturday and decided to contest the upcoming District Development Council (DDC) elections jointly.

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

“The PAGD has unanimously decided to fight the DDC elections unitedly. Despite the abruptness of the DDC elections in terms of timing, it is important that this sacred space in democracy is not allowed to be invaded and marauded by divisive forces,” PAGD spokesperson Sajad Lone said.

The decision is significant in the backdrop of the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), both part of the Gupkar alliance now, boycotting the panchayat and urban bodies polls held in 2018 over the issue of Article 370.

The alliance meeting was held at NC president Dr. Farooq Abdullah’s house in Jammu and was attended by the top leaders of the NC, PDP, People’s Conference, Awami National Conference, Communist Party of India-Marxist, and the J&K Peoples Movement.

Senior PDP leader Naeem Akhtar said a landslide win for the combination “will be an appropriate response to the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) on the disapproval of its August 5 robbery by the only stakeholders, the people of J&K”.

Also read:  J&K's first ever district council polls from Nov. 28

The alliance leaders also held a series of meetings with representatives of groups of Sikhs, Gaddis, Sippis, Kashmiri Pandits, transporters, Gujjars, Bakerwals, Scheduled Caste members and Other Backward Class (OBC) communities, IAS aspirants, and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), besides delegations from the Chenab and the Pir Panjal valleys.

“The delegates were assured that the alliance will fight for the identity and dignity of the people of J&K for the restoration of special status to J&K,” Mr. Lone said.

Bhim Singh removed

Jammu-based National Panthers Party (NPP) patron Bhim Singh also met the alliance leaders. He was later asked by the party to step down from the top post.

“Mr. Singh met them in his individual capacity. He is ageing now and fails to judge the implications of his actions. We have decided to remove him as the party patron,” NPP president Harsh Dev Singh said.

Also read: Gupkar alliance likely to take collective decision on district councils polls

Congress stays away

J&K Congress president G.A.Mir, who missed the alliance meeting for the third time and held a separate press conference to announce the party’s decision to contest the DDC polls, indicated that his party was going to maintain a distance from the Gupkar alliance and its politics.

“We want to teach BJP a lesson, particularly for their land laws. All the people of J&K are together on the issue. We will get it rolled back together,” Mr. Mir said.

Right wing protests

Meanwhile, several activists of the Shiv Sena, Ikk Jutt Jammu and the Rashtriya Bajrang Dal staged a protest against the alliance’s meeting. Several activists were detained when they tried to head towards Dr. Abdullah’s residence.

Speaking in Jammu, BJP national general secretary Tarun Chug described the Gupkar alliance as “a group of day dreamers”.

“The BJP is going to contest DDC polls in all the constituencies. The leaders of the Gupkar alliance are just exploiting the people of J&K through a bundle of lies. There is no chance of restoration of Article 370 or Article 35-A ,” Mr. Chug said.

Member of Parliament and Minister of State Dr. Jitendra Singh said the MPs of NC and PDP were present inside the Parliament when the decision to revoke J&K’s special status was made and “they should have resigned then”.

“Whosoever uses the word that J&K is on sale should learn that the sale shall start with the sale of posh bungalows on Gupkar,” he added.

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Printable version | Aug 13, 2022 1:46:43 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/gupkar-alliance-to-contest-in-jk-district-development-council-elections/article33047946.ece