Srinagar: The counting of votes got underway on Tuesday for the recently concluded District Development Council (DDC) election in Jammu and Kashmir amid tight security arrangements.
The fate of nearly 2,178 candidates contesting in 280 DDC seats will be decided today in J&K, where 51 per cent of the 57 lakh eligible voters exercised their franchise. The eight-phased elections, which commenced on November 28 and concluded on December 19, remained by and large peaceful, baring an incident in south Kashmir. An Apni Party candidate was injured in a suspected militant attack in Anantnag on December 4.
The elections to this third tier of Panchayati Raj system were held for the first time in Jammu and Kashmir and were the first mass democratic exercise since the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35 A in August 2019.
Meanwhile, a day before the counting of votes, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) claimed detention of three of its senior leaders Monday. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti called the action ‘out and out gunda raj’, and said it showed the BJP was trying to “manipulate” the results and doesn’t want any resistance.
Six political parties, including the National Conference (NC), the PDP, CPI (M), Peoples Conference and Awami National Conference (ANC), contested the DDC polls in an alliance, under the banner of the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), which was formed for restoration of Article 370.
The Congress was initially a part of the PAGD but distanced itself when the BJP targeted the opposition party for being in league with the ‘Gupkar Gang’. The DDC election is being seen as a fight between the BJP and other political parties in the region.
J&K Election Commissioner K K Sharma on Monday reviewed the preparations and other arrangements for the counting process.
He said that the Returning Officers will be in-charge of the counting process for each DDC constituency, adding that the counting of ballot papers would be taken up on a round-wise basis after proper mixing of ballot papers from different polling stations as per the prescribed procedure and counting guidelines.
“J&K admin is on an arrest spree today. PDPs Nayeem Akhtar too has been abducted by J&K police & is being taken to MLA hostel. Looks like BJP is planning to manipulate DDC results tomorrow & don’t want any resistance. Democracy is being murdered in J&[email protected]_
@JmuKmrPolice,” Ms Mehbooba wrote on micro-blogging site twitter.
“J&K admin is on an arrest spree today. PDPs Nayeem Akhtar too has been abducted by J&K police & is being taken to MLA hostel. Looks like BJP is planning to manipulate DDC results tomorrow & don’t want any resistance. Democracy is being murdered in J&[email protected][email protected],” she added.