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J&K DDC polls| Farooq Abdullah extends olive branch to Mehbooba Mufti

Leaders of Gupkar Alliance parties after a meeting in Srinagar. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

Amid growing fissures within the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), an amalgam of seven political parties in Jammu and Kashmir, over allocation of tickets for District Development Council (DDC) polls, the top leaders met in Srinagar on Sunday to iron out differences.

Also read: J&K District Development Council polls | Gupkar Alliance fails to reach seat-sharing deal

Farooq Abdullah, Gupkar alliance chairman and National Conference (NC) president, chaired a meeting at his residence but was skipped by Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti. Sources said Dr. Abdullah later approached Ms. Mufti on the phone and offered “to select seats of her choosing for the upcoming polls”.

Sources said many leaders in the PDP and Sajad Lone’s Peoples Conference (PC) were upset with the seat sharing exercise finalised by the alliance for the DDC polls.

Mr. Lone, in a tweet, also hinted at differences. “The reality as it exists is that statesmanship and magnanimity is still a missing trait in our polity. And the absence is being felt more than any other time,” he tweeted.

Also read: Gupkar alliance holds meetings over development council polls

However, PDP general secretary Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura downplayed the differences after the Sunday meeting held at Dr. Abdullah’s residence.

“There were no issues between the alliance partners. Seat sharing on DDC is not important to us. We are fighting for a bigger cause. Our fight is to get the status of pre-August 5 2019 back,” Mr. Hanjura said.

Baig quits PDP

The Gupkar alliance meeting has come a day after PDP patron Muzaffar Hussian Baig resigned from the party over “skewed seat sharing arrangement” between the PDP and the NC.

“The NC is fighting on the majority of seats. It is not in the interest of the PDP. I respect Dr. Abdullah, Ms. Mufti. I wish them luck. I am leaving PDP on principle,” said Mr. Baig.

Also read: First phase of DDC elections in J&K receives 352 nominations

Of late, Mr. Baig was not seen attending both the party or the PAGD meetings. Sources said the NC was insisting on more tickets from Baramulla, which is the home constituency of Mr. Baig.

Meanwhile, Mr. Hanjura, without naming Mr. Baig, said, “Those who leave parties on seat sharing basis are selfish people.”

Gupkar alliance constituent Awami National Conference (ANC) senior vice-president Muzaffar Shah said the alliance had decided “not to leave a single seat to the communal and fascist forces in coming DDC polls.”

Also read | Not in Gupkar Alliance yet, says Congress

“The BJP kept us under detention for months, used the NIA, the Enforcement Directorate to intimidate us, but with the grace of Almighty and the collective resolve of PAGD, they have been failed to stop us from forwarding the mission ahead,” Mr. Shah said.

Jammu and Kashmir Congress chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir, who also attended the alliance meeting, said, “The issue of seat sharing will be given a final touch very soon. The PAGD will surely defeat those miscreants who want to bring black laws and impose anti-people policies on the ground.”

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Printable version | Jan 15, 2021 9:24:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/peoples-alliance-for-gupkar-declaration-says-no-rift-among-parties-over-seat-sharing-for-ddc-polls/article33102287.ece

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