Srinagar, Dec 18: As Jammu and Kashmir is all set to witness last phase of the District Development Council (DDC) elections on Saturday, one question which everyone is asking is why did the top leaders of Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration—an amalgam of Kashmir based parties—skip the campaigning.
The PAGD comprised of National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party, Peoples Conference and other parties. “All these political formations have top leaders but none of them came forward to campaign for their candidates,” an analyst opined.
He said that DDC elections were important as these were the maiden polls in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370. “But it seems that the PAGD has messed it up despite contesting these polls collectively. At many places there were instances of activists of different parties that are a part of the PAGD contesting elections as independent candidates. This factor is likely to hit the alliance hard.”
The analyst said, “At this point of time no one can predict how many seats will any party win but one thing is for sure that the competition has been tough. Winning the DDC constituencies is not going to be a cakewalk for any of the parties. The participation of people in these elections, especially in Kashmir, has come as a surprise for many. The results will depend upon how many people have voted for which party.”
He said the Bharatiya Janata Party was the only party which sent its leaders for campaigning to Jammu and Kashmir. “Other mainstream parties didn’t show much interest. It seems that differences of opinion over seat sharing agreement led to the PAGD leaders losing interest in the campaigning,” the analyst added.
Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh while campaigning for the DDC polls in Ramban had taken a dig at the Congress and National Conference (NC) for keeping their top leaders away from the process. “Most of these candidates are avoiding using pictures of their leaders on posters and are also displaying their party symbol very discreetly and selectively. Some of the opposition candidates have also been found secretly whispering into the voter’s ear that they too are Modi followers,” Dr Singh had claimed.
An observer said, “The Kashmir based parties forging an alliance had put the BJP in tight spot and the party had to put everything into the campaigning to ensure that PAGD is kept out of the race.”
He said, “The results are few days away. If the PAGD succeeds in winning good number of seats it would mean revival of Kashmir based parties but if the amalgam fails to make much impact it could mean serious trouble for these political formations.”