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J&K DDC polls: BJP banking on campaigning by national leaders

So far, six national leaders have visited different parts of the Valley to seek votes for BJP candidates
By Mir Ehsan, Srinagar
UPDATED ON NOV 24, 2020 01:05 AM IST

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is relying on the campaigning of its national leaders to boost the image of local candidates in Jammu and Kashmir’s district development council (DDC) polls, especially in Kashmir, while other parties have kept their campaigns a low-key affair.

So far, six national leaders have visited different parts of the Valley to seek votes for BJP candidates. The BJP is the only party that is vigorously campaigning for the DDC polls, while other political parties, especially the newly formed Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), have left the campaigning to the second-rung leadership.

At present, BJP national spokesperson Syed Shahnawaz Hussain is visiting Kashmir. He went to south Kashmir’s Anantnag to campaign for the DDC polls. Last week, Mukthair Abas Naqvi addressed a rally in Kupwara, in which he lambasted the PAGD leadership for giving ‘false hopes’ to the people of the UT.

Union MoS for social justice and empowerment, Krishan Pal Gurjar visited Shopian, Pahalgam and Budgam areas and sought votes for the BJP. Tarun Chug BJP central in-charge for J&K and Ashish Sood BJP leader from Delhi also visited Kashmir.

Syed Zaffar Islam, Rajya Sabha MP and BJP leader also arrived in Kashmir for the poll campaign. BJP state spokesperson Altaf Thakur said that BJP had brought national leaders for campaigning as they were going to emerge victorious . “It was due to strength of the BJP that all other parties joined hands, including Congress.” Thakur, who is himself contesting DDC polls from Tra, said in the coming days more national leaders will be coming to Kashmir and Jammu regions.

The DDC polls for 280 seats will be held in eight phases starting from November 28 and will come to end on December 19.

Congress, another national party, is completely relying on its local leadership. J&K Pradesh Congress president Ghulam Ahmad Mir said the party had full faith on the local leadership. “Our local leaders are campaigning for the candidates and our position is strong in both provinces of J&K. We are not part of any alliance but have tactical understanding with candidates at the local-level.”The DDC polls are the first political test for Apni Party, which is being led by former minister, Altaf Bukhari. The party has many former ministers and former legislator as its members and the new party, which was formed in March is completely relying on the former legislators to make its impact felt. Many opposition parties blame the Apni Party for working on the behest of BJP.

PAGD, which comprises six regional, parties have kept their campaigning a very low key affair, however, they are relying on the vast network of party cadres spread across J&K. “All the parties that are part of PAGD have a strong cadre-base, which is a threat to BJP and its allies. If elections are free and fair PAGD candidates will win maximum seats in J&K,” said a top PAGD leader.

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