May 13, 2021

Kashmir InFocus

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J&K Congress has a plan to checkmate BJP, deny it power in 15 district councils

Out of the 278 DDC seats for which results have been declared by the J&K election commission so far, the Congress party bagged 26 seats. The BJP emerged as the largest single party with 75 seats.

The Jammu and Kashmir Congress says it will do everything possible to checkmate the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and keep it away from power in district development councils by possibly aligning with anti-BJP parties and independents in around 15 districts of the Union Territory where the saffron party doesn’t have a clear majority.

JKPCC chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma said the BJP had clear majority only in five out of the 20 districts and Congress could keep BJP at bay in the remaining 15 DDCs with an anti-BJP coalition. However, he added that the party leadership had not taken any formal position on the issue.

“Other non BJP parties and independents, opposed to BJP’s policies, have to work simultaneously in that direction, to prevent any horse trading or use of party and government machinery by the ruling party,” said JKPCC chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma.

The Congress contested the recently concluded DDC elections in the UT on its own symbol, although, it had a tacit seat sharing arrangement on the majority of seats with the National Conference led Gupkar alliance.

“In several places we were (fighting) against each other too, but there existed an arrangement between the parties against BJP,” Sharma clarified.

Trying to dispel the dominant narrative of BJP performing strongly in the first electoral exercise in J&K after revocation of Article 370 and bifurcation of the erstwhile state into two Union Territories, Sharma said the BJP lost many DDCs in several assembly segments, which were earlier with the saffron party since 2014. He added that some of the saffron party stalwarts, including those in contention for the DDC chairmanship, lost, which, he claims, showed significant disenchantment with the party.

“Since these elections were held for the first time, a large number of independent aspirants joined the fray, leading to a division of votes of dissent against the ruling party, working to its advantage,” he said, and claimed that the BJP’s vote share had decreased to a great extent.

Hitting out further, he said the BJP had deployed a heavy contingent of its central leaders to campaign for the local elections. These leaders, he says, did not mention a word about any developmental achievements but instead engaged in an emotional exploitation of voters on the issue of Gupkar alliance without even once explaining their continued alliance with them in Kargil hill council, he said.

Out of the 278 DDC seats for which results have been declared by the J&K election commission so far, the Congress party bagged 26 seats. The BJP won 75, NC bagged 67 seats, Independents won on 50 seats, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won 27 seats, Apni Party bagged 12 seats, Peoples Conference won 8 seats, JKPM won 3 seats, CPI(M) gained 5 seats while JKNPP and PDF won 2 seats each and BSP bagged 1 seat.

The results of two constituencies–one each in Bandipora and Kupwara districts– are still awaited as counting of votes has been deferred there till further orders, the officials said.