SRINAGAR: Unlike others in the electoral fray in this district, 40-year old Javed Iqbal Choudhary and his wife Shazia Choudhary, who are fighting district development council elections respectively from Peeri and Kotrenka area of Rajouri, don’t come from any political family. Javed has risen from grassroots, winning Panchayat and Block Development Council polls, before filing his nomination form as an independent candidate for DDC polls. His wife Shazia quit government service to contest election from the seat reserved for women.
A postgraduate in Environment Science, Javed has been running his independent business in Koteranka and provides livelihood to more than 60 persons.
Javed’s date with politics began when his father who was running for Panchayat elections in November 2018 died of cardiac arrest while campaigning.
Javed stepped in to take his father’s legacy forward and won the Panchayat elections by securing 1150 of 1300 votes.
In the first-ever Block Development Council election held in October 2019, Javid won by the highest-ever margin in the State. He secured 248 of 312 votes polled in the election.
Javed shot to fame for his extensive work during COVID-19. “He has worked extensively during COVID-19 and made masks and sanitisers for every household. He reached out to everyone, arranged movement passes and facilitated evacuation of stranded labourers and students. He even set-up villages committees to impose lockdowns in rural areas,” local residents told news agency KNO.
Javed’s commendable work not only gained him massive popularity in his own block but across Rajouri district.
When DDC elections were announced, Javid decided to plunge into the fray to take on traditional parties.
“All the traditional political rivals have joined hands against him. Those who have fought elections against each other in the past have found a common cause to work together against Javed and his wife Shazia,” locals claimed.
Javed and Shazia’s rivals are Choudhary Zulfikar Ali( former minister), Iqbal Malik( who lost three elections from Budhal-Darhal as independent and Congress candidate) and Liaqat Ali( National Conference).
The couple are fighting elections from territorial constituencies of Darhal Assembly segment which was the Peoples Democratic Party’s first-ever victory in Jammu region in 2008 when Choudhary Zulfikar Ali won the seat. In 2014, PDP retained the seat and Zulfikar was inducted as minister in PDP-BJP government.
After the abrogation of Article 370, Zulfikar deserted Peoples Democratic Party and joined Apni Party.
Zulfikar has fielded his wife Zubeda Begum in Koteranka territorial constituency against Shazia.
Strangely, BJP has not fielded candidates in Budhal Old A (Koteranka) and Budhal Old B (Peeri) even as the party has sizeable vote there. Interestingly, BJP has not also fielded their candidates in Peeri and Koterkna, raising questions about their secret pact with traditional parties.
Locals of the area said that they will teach a lesson to traditional parties during the DDC election.
“They have treated people of Buddhal as dumb-driven cattle for the past seven decades. They have failed to undertake development in the area. We will show them the power of our vote in the election,” they said.