Gupkar Alliance To Contest District Elections

Members of People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration address a press conference after their meeting at Bathindi in Jammu | PTI

Cong Too Decides To Join Fray

Jammu: Seven mainstream political parties of Jammu and Kashmir, who are part of the Gupkar alliance, on Saturday announced they would unitedly fight the upcoming District Development Council (DDC) elections in the Union Territory.

The parties, including the National Conference (NC) and the PDP, are part of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), which was formed for the restoration of special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Elections to DDCs and vacant posts of sarpanch and panch will be held in eight phases from December 1 to December 24 in Jammu and Kashmir, according to a notification issued by the J-K Election Commission on Friday.

The PAGD decided to participate in the DDC polls at its first meeting in Jammu, since its formation last month.

The alliance’s spokesperson, Sajad Ghani Lone, said, “One point of the agenda (for the meeting) was the upcoming DDC elections, and a unanimous decision was taken that we will fight these elections unitedly despite the abruptness of the timing.”

“All of a sudden, they (government) sprung a surprise and are going to finish the task within a month,” said Lone, who was flanked by NC leader and PAGD chairperson Farooq Abdullah and PDP chief and the alliance’s vice chairperson Mehbooba Mufti.

He said the PAGD will go through the modalities and Farooq Abdullah would release the names of candidates.

NC vice president Omar Abdullah and CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami, were among the other leaders, who were at the meeting.

Cong Too Decides To Join Fray

Earlier the Congress said it will take part in the upcoming District Development Council (DDC) elections in Jammu and Kashmir to fight against the “unconstitutional” policies of the BJP through the power of the ballot.

“The Congress with an open heart is going to put up its best candidates for the upcoming DDC elections to fight the wrong and unconstitutional policies of the BJP which has left the people of Jammu and Kashmir unhappy,” Jammu and Kashmir Congress president G A Mir said.

He also said mainstream parties that are demanding the restoration of special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir are not against the country or its people but their “fight is against the wrong policies” of the BJP.

The Centre on August 5 last year had abrogated the special status of the erstwhile state and bifurcated it into union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

The BJP has taken a vow to finish the identity of Jammu and Kashmir through “unconstitutional and undemocratic” moves like abrogation of special status, introduction of new land laws and bifurcation of the erstwhile state into union territories, the Congress leader alleged.

Mir appealed to the people to vote in the upcoming elections and said that “the people of Jammu and Kashmir are politically mature and they will use this opportunity”.

“The Congress will put forth the best of its candidates who are pro-people,” he said, adding that it was his party which introduced three-tier Panchayati Raj in the country.

However, Mir said that there are serious concerns, especially with regard to the security of candidates.

“We demand that there should be no back door entry and security concerns are also needed to be addressed to ensure free and fair elections. The focus should be on sensitive areas where extra measures need to be taken,” he said.

The Congress has already raised these concerns with the Election Commission, Mir said.

To a question on delay in holding of assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, the Congress leader said that there is no alternative to a people’s government.

“Whether it is the rule of governor, lieutenant governor or officers, it can never be pro-people Only an elected government can provide a pro-people government because the representatives are accountable to the public,” he said.

If the situation is conducive for elections to urban local bodies and DDCs, then why cannot assembly polls be held to give an elected government to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, Mir asked. On the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), he said that “the Congress is fighting the wrong policies of the BJP at the national level”.

Seven mainstream parties of Jammu and Kashmir, including the PDP and the National Conference, formed the alliance for the restoration of special status.

“We have made it clear that the August 5 last year decision of the BJP-led government was unconstitutional and undemocratic on all platforms including the floor of the Parliament and in the working committee meeting, Mir said.

“If there is an alliance of regional parties, opposing the wrong policies of the BJP government at the Centre, it is a welcome step. The basic demand of the alliance is the same for which the Congress is protesting for the last 15 months, he said.

However, he said a recent remark by a leader of the alliance was not in good taste.

Mir was apparently referring to the controversial statement of PDP president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, who is also the vice chairperson of the PAGD, on the tricolor.

We are not against the country or its people. Our fight is against the wrong policies of BJP, he said.

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