District Development Council (DDC) election was an important political development that took place in Kashmir after the abrogation of article 370. In an intense battle fought between BJP and People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), BJP emerged as the single largest party while PAGD won the maximum seats. Out of 280 seats, BJP won 74 seats followed by JKNC winning 67 seats, Congress with 27 seats, JKPDP with 26 seats and JKAP winning 12 seats. 43 independent candidates have also won the election, sending a strong message to the conventional parties of Kashmir valley. In an election whose poll percentage was 51%, no allegation of rigging or electoral frauds were alleged from any corners. Even though there were multiple attempts made from Pakistan’s side to derail DDC election, the process went smooth.
A total of 2,178 candidates contested DDC election including 450 women candidates. Each of the 20 districts was divided into 14 segments. BJP now has a majority in 6 out of the 10 District Development Councils in Jammu region; PAGD can now control 9 DDCs in Kashmir region with the majority. BJP also made history by making its electoral first win in Kashmir valley in the form of Aijaz Hussain’s victory from Khanmoh-II division in Srinagar District. BJP’s growing strength in the Kashmir region is an indication of people’s acceptance of nationalist cause and their support towards the measures taken by the Union government.
“There was a time when India’s reverse in a cricket match against Pakistan would see celebrations in the streets of Kashmir. But the fact that DDC polls not only saw good participation of people in the Valley but also that the results were welcomed by the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) constituents, independents and other parties alike, shows that they all want grassroots democracy that will bring them the benefits of development. The good show by independents reflects the emergence of new and young leadership at the grassroots,” a senior government functionary told Times of India.
The elected local representatives will now swear allegiance to the constitution of India and not to J&K Constitution. DDC elections were held for the first time in J&K, earlier it used to be a nominated body. The successful competition of DDC election will pave way for the assembly election after delimitation.
Union home minister Amit Shah on Wednesday congratulated the people of Jammu and Kashmir for “such great turnout” in the maiden district development council (DDC) elections. Shah also “heartily thanked” the people for voting his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as the single-largest party in the elections.
“I heartily thank our sisters and brothers of J&K for voting BJP as the single largest party in the District Development Council elections. BJP under the leadership of PM @narendramodi ji will continue to work relentlessly towards the prosperity and development of the J&K region,” Shah tweeted on Wednesday.
Congratulations to the people of J&K for such great turnout in DDC polls. I applaud the efforts of our security forces & local administration for successfully conducting these multi-phased elections. This will further boost the morale and trust of people of J&K in democracy,” he added.
“Modi government is doing everything possible to restore the grass root democracy in Jammu & Kashmir. The recently held DDC polls for the first time in the history of J&K is the testimony of the same. The mass participation in these elections reflects people’s faith in democracy,” Shri Amit Shah added.