Srinagar: As the process to elect chairpersons for District Development Council boards is all set to commence, the political parties are making all possible attempts to keep their flock together.
On Thursday vice-president of Jammu and Kashmir Congress Committee Ghulam Nabi Monga urged Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to ensure free and fair elections for DDC chairpersons. He expressed apprehensions about attempts of “horse trading” and pressurizing elected members to vote for a particular party. “It will further undermine the credibility of democratic institutions and will render the DDC elections meaningless,” Monga wrote in a letter to the LG.
The Congress Party in the recently held DDC elections won 26 seats in Jammu and Kashmir and is likely to head the boards in one or two districts if it enters into an alliance with the National Conference or Peoples Democratic Party.
An analyst while talking to Precious Kashmir said, “The Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration—an amalgam of regional parties comprising NC, PDP and other parties—at present has 102 seats as Peoples Conference which had won eight DDC constituencies has pulled out. If the PAGD remains intact it may head the DDC boards in most districts in Kashmir, but if it falls apart then the equation can change. Independents have won 50 seats and they can prove to be the king makers in many districts.”
He said, “The BJP that has emerged as a single largest party in J&K by winning 75 seats, of which 72 were won in Jammu region is all set to head the DDC boards in six districts of Jammu. However, in Kashmir situation is bit different.”
The analyst said, “The National Conference has an upper hand as it has won 67 DDC seats while PDP is trailing far behind with just 27 seats. Out of 102 seats both these parties share 94 seats while eight have gone to the smaller parties. Now, it remains to be seen whether the NC and PDP will join hands to elect the DDC chairperson or will they part ways.”
An observer said, “The newly formed Apni Party is claiming that it enjoys the support of independents and many PAGD rebel candidates are in touch with the party leadership. The elections for chairpersons are to be held through a secret ballot. We are all set to witness a keen contest. If the claims of Apni Party are true then one can expect a big surprise.”
“In Srinagar independents hold the key as they have won maximum number of seats. How the candidates and the parties will behave to elect DDC chairpersons will set the tone and tenor for the elections that will be held in future in J&K,” he added.