by Saifullah Bashir
SRINAGAR: With the first phase of the ongoing DDC polls over and seven more to go, there are hundreds in a contest to make it to the top. There are candidates who may never win but have left indelible marks on people – thanks to social media that covered their actions and activities for garnering votes.
It is a huge bunch of candidates who have emerged sort of entertainers. They are very famous and carry huge crowds along on social media. They will never win, however. People follow them for how not to do politics
This all started with a video of Javaid Qureshi, reportedly a cleric from north Kashmir and a die-hard BJP worker. In that video, he could be seen tearing his clothes while saying Kapday phaad kay (by cutting my clothes). In the video, he was actually reacting to Mehbooba Mufti statement on the tricolour.
Qureshi’s style and delivery of the dialogue is still being talked about and referred to. There were countless memes that emerged out of that video.
It was followed up by Peerzada Mohammad Shafi, who is apparently contesting from Khag belt in Budgam. His broken Urdu along with his huge overreaction to developments made the audience laugh. His speeches are a huge hit.
A female BJP candidate broke records by her hilarious appeal to people. She was actually explaining it on a video: “Mai BJP ki taraf sai vote nhi mangti. Mai bolti hun aap mujay vot dou, mearay cheray ko vote do”. This is quite common in Kashmir that individuals caught in difficult and untrustworthy situations tell people that “they must trust me in person”. But it was the delivery of the dialogue that did the viral trick. This video reached millions across Kashmir.
The use of social media by the candidates and vice versa gave this election a new distinction. Earlier it was Shabir Khanbali, whose dialogues were hit and making rounds in the valley. His Seedhay mout, koli manz, paieth latmond, was a sixer on no-ball. But current DDC candidates have replaced him.
The DDC election is a new level in which a lot of people are involved at the micro-constituency level. In certain cases, the individuals who are contesting are too excited. A People’s Conference says in one video: “Letter pad and stamp aagayi hai aur bas ab nokri k liyai tayar raho”. In another video, one candidate lists his priorities which include getting a vehicle and appointing all youth in his locality in government.