- The Gupkar Alliance, led by Farooq Abdullah, bagged more than 100 seats in the first ever election to 288 District Development Councils’ (DDCs)
- BJP emerged as J & K’s single largest party, delivering an expectedly impressive performance in the Jammu region
- The district councils are intended to encourage growth by direct support from the Centre and will be the link between citizens and the govt.
Since J & K lost its special status last year and was turned into a Union Territory, the Farooq Abdullah-led Gupkar alliance won big in the first local polls in Jammu and Kashmir. In the first ever District Development Council (DDC) polls across 20 districts in J&K, 13 districts were won by the seven-party alliance, along with Congress. In the six districts of Jammu, the BJP won.
More than 100 seats have been won by the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration — a coalition of mainstream J&K-based parties including rivals Farooq Abdullah’s National Conference and Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP); Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged with 74 seats as the single largest party. Congress won 26 seats.
Voting took place for 280 seats – 14 in each of the 20 districts of the Union territory. Results for all but two seats have been announced.
In Kashmir, the alliance scored as predicted, while the BJP won most of the seats in Jammu.
The Farooq Abdullah-led alliance captured 72 seats in Kashmir, with the BJP winning only three seats. While the Alliance is forming its government in nine district councils, the district of Srinagar is still undecided as independents lead in the district and it is unclear which way they will go.
The BJP won 71 seats in Jammu province, scoring in Jammu, Kathua, Samba, Udhampur, Doda and Reasi and The National Conference and Congress bagged 45 seats, claiming victory in the Poonch, Ramban, Rajouri, Kishtwar districts.
The National Conference and the PDP alleged that before the results, many of their leaders had been arrested.
Waheed Parra, a Senior People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in a terror funding case, won from Pulwama.
After winning in Kashmir for the first time, the BJP called it a “wave of change” in the Valley. Against the National Conference and the PDP, three of its candidates secured their seats.
“Three BJP candidates have won from Srinagar. It shows that people of Jammu and Kashmir believe in the vision of PM Narendra Modi for the development of the UT (Union Territory).”
However, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti claimed that the results made it clear that, in August of last year, the decision of the Centre to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 has been rejected by the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Omar Abdullah expressed his views on a Twitter and said, “I understand the temptation to overplay the 3 seats the BJP has won in the valley but why underplay the 35 wins/leads of the (Gupkar alliance) in Jammu province.”
The J&K people have given their decision on what they think about 2019. They don’t support it. “The BJP’s propaganda has been overwhelmingly rejected,” the National Conference leader told to one of the leading channels of the country.
The Gupkar alliance said, “It had fought against many odds”. Its leaders had hardly campaigned for the elections. They alleged that they were not permitted to campaign for their candidates and were locked in security enclosures. It was also alleged by the National Conference and the PDP that several of their leaders were detained prior to the results.
Farooq Abdullah is also fighting the Enforcement Directorate’s inquiries into money-laundering charges connected with the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association. His properties, including two houses in Srinagar and Jammu, have recently been confiscated by investigators.
The Gupkar alliance was formed to fight for the restoration of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. Soon after the amendment, many of its leaders, such as Farooq Abdullah, his son and prominent leader Omar Abdullah, former CM of J&K Mehbooba Mufti and others, were detained as part of the center’s unprecedented J&K security crackdown. In March, the Abdullahs were released, while in October, Mehbooba Mufti was freed after more than a year.
The Gupkar alliance declared that it would field joint candidates when the polls were announced and also released a list of “unanimous” options for the first few rounds of voting. Because of the tussle over seat-sharing, the unity was short-lived. By fielding proxy candidates, the allies ended up battling each other. The parties openly pitched candidates against each other in some seats.
Through direct support from the Centre, the District Councils are intended to drive growth. The DDCs, in the absence of an assembly, will be the link between the citizens and the government in Jammu and Kashmir and each council chairperson will enjoy the status of a junior minister.