For the first time since the abolition of Article 370 and the transition of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into Union territory, the elections for the local body were held in Jammu and Kashmir over a period of 25 days. Polls were held for 280 seats of the District Development Council (DDC) in 20 districts of the Union Territory. The polling was held in eight phases beginning on November 28 and concluding on December 19.
Six Kashmir-centric political parties including the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) contested the election under the banner of an alliance named the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) which was formed for the restoration of Article 370. Initially, the Congress was part of the Gupkar alliance but later the grand old party distanced itself from the alliance.
While the PAGD has won 110 seats, the BJP has emerged as the single largest party with 74 seats.
Jammu and Kashmir DDC elections tally at 9.30 am:— ANI (@ANI) December 23, 2020
National Conference – 67
Independent – 49
J&K PDP: 27
Apni Party: 12
(Data source: J&K State Election Authority) pic.twitter.com/z5KHPm3pAV
As the counting for the DDC elections is still underway for a few seats, the picture had almost become clear. The BJP has emerged as the largest party in Jammu region with 71 seats in total after getting the largest vote share in the Union Territory. The People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) is winning the DDC polls by winning 110 seats. BJP spokesperson Anil Gupta said that the poll results were a ‘victory for democracy’ and added that it was a ‘slap’ for those claiming that Kashmiri people had lost faith in democracy.
In Jammu region, the BJP is the largest party with 71 seats, NC has 25 seats and Congress has 17. JK Apni Party has 3 seats, Panthers Party has 2. PDP and BSP have 1 seat each.
In the Kashmir region, the PAGD has scored big. However, several independent candidates have also won, triggering speculations that they may play kingmakers. In total, the BJP has 74 seats, the NC has 67 seats, independents have 49 seats and PDP has 27. Congress has won 26 seats.
The Gupkar alliance and its anti-India leanings
In October this year, six political parties the National Conference (NC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peoples Conference (PC), Communist Party of India Marxist (CPI-M), Peoples Movement (PM) and Awami National Conference (ANC) had formed the Gupkar alliance demanding the restoration of Article 370. Gupkar alliance member PDP’s President Mehbooba Mufti had denounced the Indian national flag after being released from detention on October 13. She said that she would not raise the Indian flag until the flag of the erstwhile state of J&K gets restored. NC’s Farooq Abdullah had sought China’s help to revert the central government’s decisions.