Kashmir Indepth

PAGD won highest seats in DDC elections but manages to make chairpersons only in 5 districts 

Ishtiyaq Ahmad
Srinagar Feb 15 (KINS): The People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) has managed to make its chairpersons in only five districts of Jammu and Kashmir despite winning highest seats in district development council elections.
Chairperson and vice-chairperson have been elected in 17 districts so far while voting on three districts is yet to take place in J&K.
The PAGD is an amalgam of six parties, including the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party which won 110 seats out of 280 seats in DDC elections followed by BJP-75, Congress-26.
Under the first ever DDC polls held last year, each district was divided into 14 segments and the elected candidates are in the process of electing district chairpersons of 20 districts.
However, the PAGD which was expected to make chairpersons in 13 districts with the support of Congress has suffered a massive setback. It has managed to form DDC only in five districts so far. 
“In Kashmir’s 10 districts, the PAGD had won maximum seats. However, independents, smaller parties Peoples Conference-led by Sajjad Lone and Jammu and Kashmir Apni-Party led by Altaf Bukhari managed to win five DDCs, leaving the PAGD in a big shock,” a National Conference leader told news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS).
There were many winning candidates who contested on NC and PDP tickets but later joined Jammu Kashmir Apni Party. Apni Party won just 12 seats across J&K but formed DDCs in two districts of the valley- Srinagar and Shopian.
Bukhari’s party is considered close to the centre and “B-Team” of the BJP. The Apni Party was floated last year following the abrogation of Article 370.
While independents and Peoples Conference won three other districts of Kashmir-Budgam, Baramulla and Kupwara.
On the other hand, BJP has won six districts of Jammu region so far including Jammu, Doda, Samba, Reasi, Kuthua and Udhampur.  While independents managed to make success in Poonch district. The three districts Kishtwar, Rajouri, Ramban, where elections are yet to take place for chairpersons.
Senior National Conference leader and former chief minister Omar Abdullah has alleged that money, muscle, threats and coercion were being used to facilitate horse-trading and defections.  NC president Farooq Abdullah has also raised the issue in the Parliament.
The NC has raised the issue of defections of elected DDC members with the Chief Election Commissioner, J&K, K. K. Sharma. Similar claims have been made by PDP president Mehbooba Mufti. (KINS)

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