Gupkar Alliance to unitedly fight upcoming J&K DDC elections

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‘Farooq Abdullah to release names of candidates’

STATE TIMES NEWS

Jammu: Seven mainstream political parties of Jammu and Kashmir, who are part of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), on Saturday announced they would unitedly fight the upcoming District Development Council (DDC) elections in the Union Territory.
The parties, including the National Conference (NC) and the PDP, are part of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), which was formed for the restoration of special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Elections to DDCs and vacant posts of sarpanch and panch will be held in eight phases from December 1 to December 24 in Jammu and Kashmir, according to a notification issued by the J-K Election Commission on Friday.
The PAGD decided to participate in the DDC polls at its first meeting in Jammu, since its formation last month.
The alliance’s spokesperson, Sajad Ghani Lone, said, “One point of the agenda (for the meeting) was the upcoming DDC elections, and a unanimous decision was taken that we will fight these elections unitedly despite the abruptness of the timing.”
“All of a sudden, they (government) sprung a surprise and are going to finish the task within a month,” said Lone, who was flanked by NC leader and PAGD chairperson Farooq Abdullah and PDP chief and the alliance’s vice chairperson Mehbooba Mufti.
He said the PAGD will go through the modalities and Farooq Abdullah would release the names of candidates.
NC vice president Omar Abdullah and CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami, were among the other leaders, who were at the meeting.
Jammu and Kashmir State Election Commissioner K K Sharma on Wednesday announced an eight-phase election to the District Development Councils in the Union Territory beginning November 28, which will conclude on December 22. This will be the first major electoral exercise in the esrtwhile state since the Centre scrapped Article 370 in August last year.
The government had in October amended the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act to provide for setting up of DDCs in each district which will have directly elected members, fully applying the 73rd constitutional amendment to the Union Territory.
The electoral exercise comes a year after all political activity in Jammu and Kashmir had come to a standstill with the dilution of Article 370. Almost all of the Kashmir Valley’s political leadership, including three other former chief ministers – Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah, and Mehbooba Mufti – were detained in 2019. Omar Abdullah was released seven months later on March 24 as the Jammu and Kashmir administration revoked his detention order under the Public Safety Act. Farooq Abdullah was released on March 13. People’s Conference chief Sajjad Lone was released in July. Mufti was the last one to be released on October 13.
Two days later, the politicians announced the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, which resolved to protect Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status and fight against any move to dilute it. On August 22, the six parties reaffirmed their commitment to the declaration and vowed to fight unitedly against the Centre’s decision to alter the region’s status.

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