Having taken a U-turn on their former decision to boycott all elections in the Union Territory Jammu and Kashmir, the constituents of what is being touted as the ‘People’s Alliance’, had decided to contest the upcoming District Development Council (DDC) polls kickstarting in a few days. This had come despite leaders from the National Conference and PDP, including the Abdullahs and Muftis stating that the restoration of Kashmir’s special status and Article 370 was a prerequisite for them to take part in the Union Territory’s electoral processes, as though their presence was being dearly missed.
It now seems that such leaders have realised their irrelevance, and close to invisible political clout in the valley. Therefore, they are now giving out statements which go on to predict a defeat for the People’s Alliance in the upcoming polls. The Modi government had only recently issued orders to move an additional 25,000 security personnel to the Union Territory ahead of the District Development Council (DDC) elections. This was reason enough for the Gupkar Gang to come out of their cocoons and cry foul, wiping the slate clean for their defeat in the DDC polls perhaps.
The election is fast becoming a farce & also exposes the hollow claims of both the centre & state about the improved security situation in J&K.
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) November 19, 2020
“The election is fast becoming a farce & also exposes the hollow claims of both the centre and state about the improved security situation in J&K,” Omar Abdullah said. Earlier on Wednesday, Abdullah and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti accused the J&K administration of favouring BJP and J&K Apni Party in the run-up to the DDC polls. Mehbooba went as far as alleging that non-BJP candidates for the DDC elections are not being permitted to campaign freely, even as Abdullah accused the J&K administration of using the security situation as a pretext to lock up candidates opposed to BJP.
For their own safety, owing to the threat posed to democracy by Islamist terrorists in the valley, the J&K administration is shifting the election candidates to ‘cluster accommodations’ as soon as they file the nomination papers due to an expected threat to their lives. This precautionary measure is somehow being dubbed a stifling of democracy by members of the Gupkar gang, who, owing to their inability to win elections, are now making flimsy excuses to somehow validate their imminent embarrassing defeat in the upcoming polls.
By saying that the candidates are not being allowed to campaign for the polls, the Gupkar gang is setting the stage to claim that the polls in the Union Territory were rigged at the behest of the BJP government in Delhi. This, even as the gang members refuse to acknowledge, leave alone condemn those elements that have necessitated the extra-deployment of security forces in the valley.
The DDC elections will be conducted in 8 phases between November 28 and December 19, with the counting of votes scheduled for December 22. The DDC’s, which will have a term of five years replace the District Planning and Development Boards which were previously headed by a Cabinet Minister of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. The DDC polls are the first major electoral process taking place in the Union Territory after the historic abrogation of Article 370 and revocation of Kashmir’s special status by the Modi government on August 5 last year.