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Gupkar Alliance Just Ahead Of BJP In Early Leads In J&K Local Polls
Nation Now TV December 22, 2020
Srinagar: The Farooq Abdullah-led People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration has a slim lead over the BJP in the first District Development Council (DDC) election in Jammu and Kashmir. This is the first election in Jammu and Kashmir since its special status was scrapped and it was downgraded to a Union Territory.
In latest leads, the Gupkar alliance — a grouping of regional parties including the National Conference and Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) – is ahead in 11 seats and the BJP in eight.
The Congress is leading in two.
Votes are being counted for 280 seats – 14 in each of the 20 districts of the union territory – and the process may take longer than usual because the state election commission has opted for paper ballot instead of electronic voting machines or EVMs. Polling was held in eight phases over a period of 25 days.
The Gupkar Alliance, which was formed in protest against the massive constitutional changes in which Article 370 was abrogated, was largely missing during the campaign. Many of its leaders, like former Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and others were detained in August last year, soon after the scrapping of special status, as the centre imposed security restrictions to prevent protests.
The results of the election may be used as a sort of referendum by both political ideologies – for and against the major constitutional changes in Jammu and Kashmir.
The announcement to hold DDC polls was so sudden that it took political parties by surprise. The regional leaders emerging from long detentions and restrictions were caught in a Catch-22 situation. The decision to fight the election was just not easy for the new political amalgam, named as People’s Alliance for Gupkar declaration or PAGD. The BJP calls them “Gupkar gang”.
The alliance by arch rivals, National Conference, PDP, People’s Conference and other groups was stitched to fight for restoration of Article 370 and statehood to Jammu and Kashmir. But that premise may have taken a backseat.
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