Apni Party claims support of independents, others to head 6-7 DDCs

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STATE TIMES NEWS

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) is aiming to have its chairpersons in at least six to seven District Development Councils with the help of Independents and members of other parties who are “willing” to cross over, its chief Altaf Bukhari said on Monday.
Elected DDC members will pick the chairpersons in 20 districts — 10 each in Jammu and Kashmir — within three weeks.
The JKAP won only 12 DDC constituencies out of a total of 280 in the first democratic exercise in Jammu and Kashmir after the revocation of its special status under Article 370 of the Constitution and its bifurcation into union territories in August last year.
A businessman-turned-politician who was part of the PDP-BJP coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir between 2015 and 2018, Bukhari said his party had quietly fielded independent candidates. “On Sunday, I have paraded all the 21 (winning) independent candidates at the party meeting. There was no coercion whatsoever,” he said.
Targeting the rival People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), Bukhari said, “They built a false narrative against my party that we are the ‘B team of BJP’ or the ‘King’s party’. We were trying to build a base in the newly carved out Union Territory and were attracting the right kind of people, including intellectuals and well educated.”
“The other political parties made attempts to sabotage our identity and also went ahead in claiming that the elections were for restoration of Article 370, et cetera, et cetera,” Bukhari told PTI here. Asked about the below-expectation performance of the JKAP, the new entrant in the political space of Jammu and Kashmir, he said, “Please understand that 12 (candidates) won on our ticket while 21 independents were supported by us.”
“Secondly, we were just born a few months back but our vote share is more than that of the PDP which has been in the political arena for more than two decades. We have been moving around and telling people about our party. The cadre base is building and we will only improve from here,” he said.

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