SRINAGAR: With Peoples Conference (PC) exiting the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), the politics in north Kashmir’s twin districts of Baramulla and Kupwara is heating up as PC had bagged the highest seats for the alliance in recently conducted District Development Council (DDC) elections.
The party has five seats in its bastion of Kupwara district out of 14 while the PAGD has four. Among remaining six seats, the independents have three while the Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party has won on a single seat.
In the neighbouring Baramulla district, the PAGD had won seven seats till PC parted ways with the alliance, leaving the amalgam with just four seats. The PC has three seats while the JKAP and Congress have two seats each. The independent candidates have won on three seats in the district with Safina Beigh being one among them. She is considered to be closer to PC through her husband Muzaffar Beigh’s past association with the party.
For PAGD to bag the Kupwara district’s DDC Chairman and Vice-Chairman posts, they would require four more seats which doesn’t seem possible even if the three independents support the party. However, for PC, the chances seem bright as they require the support of just three more members which the independents can easily provide.
In Baramulla, the situation is murkier too as the PAGD requires four seats while the PC needs five. The JKAP has two seats in the district while the independents have won three and the Congress party two.
PAGD can ally with the Congress like they have done in the Jammu province’s Ramban district to form lead the DDC. However, even after allying with the Congress the PAGD would require the support of two more independents.
For the PC, the support of all three independents would take their tally to six which is two seats short of the majority mark. The PC either needs to ally with the JKAP against which it bitterly fought the election.
The fractured mandate in the two districts after the PC’s new political dawn has further strengthened the independent camp which won a resounding 50 seats among the 280 in Jammu and Kashmir.
Earlier, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had a clear majority on six out of 20 DDCs of Jammu and Kashmir while the PAGD had on 13. However, PC’s exit has lowered the tally to 11 districts now.
National Conference District President Kupwara and former lawmaker Qaiser Jamshed Lone said the PAGD’s motive to contest the DDC elections has been accomplished and the election for heading the council is insignificant.
“We wanted to send a message to the BJP that what they did last year to Jammu and Kashmir isn’t acceptable to the people. The mandate has spoken,” he said, adding that NC has always been a movement for people’s rights rather than being just a political party.
He said as soon as the notification for the DDC chairman and vice chairman is issued w will stake a claim.
“There are independents who have won. Our gates are open.”
Peoples Democratic Party District President Baramulla Jalaluddin Shah said the PAGD is banking on the four seats they have along with two from the Congress and one independent who won from Tujjar Sharief segment.
“We have the support of seven members and require just one more. We are confident of leading the DDC,” Shah said, adding that PC is also likely to support the PAGD even though they have parted ways.
“Our resolve is the same. They will support us.”