PAGD Candidates File Nomination Papers For District Polls

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

Srinagar: The People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), an amalgam of seven political parties in Jammu and Kashmir seeking restoration of the erstwhile state’s special status, on Thursday fielded 27 candidates from three parties including National Conference (NC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peoples Conference (PC) for the forthcoming District Development Council (DDC) polls

The NC is contesting 21 of the 27 seats in the Kashmir valley, the PDP, led by Mehbooba Mufti, is contesting four, while the Sajad Lone-led People’s Conference (PC) will field candidates in two seats for the first phase.

Lone in a tweet said that all the candidates approved have filed their nomination papers.

“PAGD candidates approved for the first phase have already filed their papers. List was conveyed to the parties. I am tweeting this in response to some media reports of the list not having been issued yet,” Lone tweeted.

PAGD shared a seat-sharing arrangement with the media after the candidates of the constituent parties of the alliance filed their nomination papers, the last date for which was Thursday.

The PAGD, which has the National Conference (NC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as its constituents, was formed last month to fight for the restoration of the special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, which was revoked by the Centre in August last year.

The members of the alliance announced last week that they would unitedly fight the DDC polls, which will be held for the first time in the Union Territory.

The PAGD seat-sharing list was approved by NC president Farooq Abdullah, who is the chairman of the alliance.

The alliance, however, did not reveal the names of the candidates contesting the first phase of the polls.

A PAGD leader said given the paucity of time, the names of the candidates could not be shared.

“We all had to work at a breakneck speed. We will update the names of the candidates later because they were busy with the filing of nominations today,” he said.

The PAGD has decided to put up joint candidates of its constituent parties in the election, but will contest on the respective party symbols as a single symbol could not be granted to the alliance.

The polls to the DDCs will be held in eight phases from November 28 to December 24, according to a notification issued by the State Election Commission.

Apni Party Welcomes PAGD’s Decision

Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party president Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari on Thursday welcomed the decision of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) to contest the District Development Council (DDC) polls unitedly.

Bukhari was speaking to reporters here after the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference — representing the panches and sarpanches — joined his party.

“It is a right decision and I congratulate them. I think Jammu and Kashmir is fortunate that these leaders have kept the emotions at bay and taken a practical decision,” Bukhari said on the decision of the PAGD — an amalgam of seven mainstream political parties of Jammu and Kashmir — to contest the maiden DDC polls in the Union Territory unitedly.

The Apni Party chief said it is good to see the leaders associated with the PAGD shunning emotional slogans, which have always influenced the youngsters of Jammu and Kashmir towards the wrong.

“Till 10 days ago, those who are part of the PAGD, used to cry out loud saying elections are meaningless for them. But now they have decided to fight the polls. They still claim that they are not power hungry, but I want to ask them for what are they fighting the DDC polls then? Power flows from the grassroots, so it is not good to say that you are not fighting for power,” he said.

On the amendments to land laws in Jammu and Kashmir, allowing outsiders to purchase land in the Union Territory, Bukhari said his party will fight for the protection of land rights.

“Industry we understand but that cannot be at the cost of our youngsters. This is not a slogan, but I assure you that we will fight to change the land laws,” he said.

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