The Congress party on Friday joined the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) ahead of the District Development Council (DDC) elections in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), colloquially referred to as Gupkar Gang, is an alliance of several political parties seeking restoration of the erstwhile state’s special status.
Unsurprisingly, the Congress party, which has been extremely vocal against the abolishing of Article 370 in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, has also joined the controversial alliance.
Reportedly, Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) attended a five-hour-long joint meeting of National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party in Jammu to deliberate on strategy and finalisation of candidates to be fielded commonly in the District Development Council (DDC) polls.
“It was conveyed to Dr Farooq Abdullah Sahab – Chairperson of People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) – by the Congress High Command that the Congress wants to support like-minded secular parties like National Conference to strengthen the secular fabric of J&K and for the welfare of people of J&K and Ladakh,” NC’s Devender Singh Rana informed after the meeting.
Earlier on Friday, two Congress leaders had participated in a meeting of the alliance at PDP president Mehbooba Mufti’s ‘Fairview’ residence. Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Monga speaking to the media outside Mufti’s residence said, “We stand by the alliance. We will contest this election to defeat the divisive forces.”
Congress to contest DDC elections as part of Gupkar Gang
After another meeting of PAGD alliance at NC headquarters ‘Nawa-i-Subah’, NC provincial president Nasir Aslam Wani had confirmed by saying that Congress has assured it will be part of the Gupkar Gang alliance and part of the seat-sharing arrangement for the DDC elections.
Congress Chief Spokesperson Ravinder Sharma said, “We have started an adjustment process with the like-minded secular parties like NC and other political parties to ensure victory for our candidates. We have discussed the suitability of the candidates. There will be broader formation in which better candidates will be fielded and we have talked to work it out”.
The newly formed People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) also announced that they would be participating in the upcoming District Development Council (DDC) elections as a single unit to take on the BJP.
The Gupkar Gang has also released the first list of 27 candidates for DDC polls. Among the candidates who filed their nominations, 21 are from the National Conference, four are from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and two are from the People’s Conference.
Other than the National Conference and the PDP, the Peoples Conference, the CPI (M) and the Awami National Conference are part of the PAGD alliance.
Jammu and Kashmir bars political leaders from UT from flying abroad
Meanwhile, as many as 33 politicians of Jammu and Kashmir have been barred them from travelling abroad.
Reportedly, the Jammu and Kashmir administration had handed over a list of around 37 people after August 5 last year when the special status of the erstwhile state was removed.
The list had names of various political leaders from National Conference, PDP, JK People’s Conference including Ali Mohammed Sagar, Abdul Rahim Rather, Nayeem Akhtar, Sajjad Lone his brother Bilal Lone, Wani, Basharat Bukhari among others.
Initially, the list was valid for three months which was later extended after a review. However, the list has been updated and pruned as the number of people came down to 33 after some of the leaders were taken off from the lookout notice.
Interestingly, the names of former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti are not in the list.