by Tasavur Mushtaq

SRINAGAR: Though politics has nothing to do with horses, but horse-trading has always been an act of politics. Usually witnessed after the assembly election results elsewhere, Kashmir is an exception, this time too.

On Wednesday, following the District Development Council (DDC) election results in which independent candidates emerged as “game changers”, particularly in Kashmir, there are allegations that “force is being used to influence them and buy the loyalty.”

Hitting the right-wing party, its “proxies” and the administration, former two chief ministers have alleged that the “independent candidates are being contacted and coerced to join them.”

Initially, it was Omar Abdullah. While referring to his party’s former MLC, Omar alleged that “police have taken him away.” Putting it in the public domain, virtually, Omar said “An ex-MLC of @JKNC_from South Kashmir has been taken away by the police to stop him contacting the independent DDC members elected in his district. “. In the same tweet, the former chief minister said “they are being transported to Srinagar. “At the same time the authorities are taking the trouble to transport some of these independents to Srinagar for “discussions”.

Castigating LG Manoj Sinha led administration for “collecting independents for BJP and its recently formed subsidiaries,” Omar alleged “The administration has now taken on the responsibility of trying to collect independent candidates for the BJP & it’s recently formed subsidiary. It seems the government doesn’t have enough to do & has branched out into this line of work as well.”

Another former chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti also voiced the same. She in her tweet while quoting the son of successful candidate said the process to “abduct the successful candidates” has started. Terming them being “losers”, she said there is “death of democracy in Kashmir.”BJP & its proxies are sore losers & have resorted to abducting independents who won DDC elections. They are shamelessly using all means to increase their tally. This isn’t dance but death of democracy in J&K.”

In her tweet, there was a post of Choudhary Abdul Aziz who has posted tagging few more people and accused former MLC Zaffar Iqbal Manhas of abducting his father. He has expressed apprehension about the safety of his father. “My father Abdul Hamid Sheikh Devpora who won the DDC election from Shopian yesterday has been abducted by the goons of Zaffar Iqbal Manhas leader of Apni Party with the help of SOG to forceballiy join Apni Party. Good luck for Indian Democracy. I am very apprehensive about the health of my father.”

 Why Wooing?

The results for the 278 seats of DDC in Jammu and Kashmir have given the major mandate to Peoples’ Alliance, now known as PAGD with 110 berths. Individually at the party level, the right-wing BJP has emerged as the single largest party with 75 berths, only three from Kashmir and the rest from its bastion in Jammu. The results for two seats, Drugmulla and Hajin-A are withheld.

After BJP, NC has taken the second slot, 67, followed by PDP, 27, Congress 26, JKPC, 8, and CPI-M, 5. However, the newly formed Apni Party got 12 seats.

As revealed by the results, the independents took the lion’s share of 50 seats and surprisingly 34 per cent of the total vote share with 18 per cent of seats is in their kitty.

If reports are to be believed and Congress goes to PAGD, it can add its 26 seats to the alliance, taking the total number of seats to 136. However, independents continue to dominate the scene.

Take an example of Srinagar, performing poorly in the capital city, PAGD could manage success on only three seats. An equal number was taken by the Apni Party and one by BJP, leaving seven seats to independents. Interestingly, independents would determine who would be chairman of DDC in Srinagar.

Similarly in the Jammu region, the PAGD and Congress have got maximum seats and will form DDC in Ramban, Kishtwar, Rajouri, and Poonch. However, BJP has won maximum seats in Reasi, Samba, Kuthua, Jammu, Doda, Udhampur and will make its chairmen in these areas.


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