National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah hits out at J&K administration during a press conference in Srinagar on Saturday.(PTI)
National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah hits out at J&K administration during a press conference in Srinagar on Saturday.(PTI)

J-K administration interfering to change DDC results: Omar Abdullah

Omar Abudllah alleged that winners of DDC elections are being forced to join parties other than the PAGD alliance by use of coercion.
Hindustan Times, Srinagar | By Ashiq Hussain | Edited by Abhinav Sahay
UPDATED ON DEC 26, 2020 06:45 PM IST

National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah has accused the Jammu and Kashmir administration of attempting to “change” the district development council (DDC) election results by arresting leaders and forcing the winning candidates to join parties other than the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD).

Abdullah said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Apni Party and both state and central governments should accept that the majority of seats in the DDC elections have been won by the PAGD.

“After the results, repeatedly from Delhi, government and BJP spokespersons said that it was a victory of democracy. Even today the PM, during a health programme inauguration, said, it is the win of democracy. Then the next steps should also be taken democratically, which unfortunately is not happening,” he said.

He alleged that some officers of the government were interfering with the electoral process after the declaration of the DDC results.

“On whose command we don’t know. There are arrests, detentions and threats; the districts in Kashmir, where they can change the results using detentions and make DDC chairman from parties other than the Gupkar Alliance, they are doing it with vim and vigour,” he said.

In the first DDC elections, the PAGD-- a conglomerate of six J&K regional parties including the National Conference and the People’s Democratic Party-- have won 110 of the 240 seats. BJP was successful in 75 constituencies, Congress on 26 seats and the newly-floated Apni Party, considered close to the BJP, managed to get 12 seats, while the Independents emerged as a major force with 50 seats.

“We want to tell the J&K government and the central government not to play with democracy. J&K has already paid a heavy price for these things. If the PM himself is saying that in these elections democracy has won, then he should tell his administration, his police, civil officers that they should not interfere in these things (election results). My colleagues should be released and the harassment of the families of the winning candidates should stop,” he said.

HT’s attempt to get a reaction from Kashmir divisional commissioner, Pandurang K Pole, did not elicit any response.

Also Read: Parties woo Independents as they emerge key players for at least four J&K DDCs

Abdullah alleged that in south Kashmir’s Shopian district, his two senior colleagues-- ex-MLC of Wachi, Showkat Ganai and segment in-charge Shopian Shabir Ahmad Kulle-- have been picked up after the results.

“They are saying that they have been taken into preventive detention. What are they preventing we don’t understand. Except democracy, nothing else is being prevented there,” he said.

He said that the winning candidates from Shopian are being brought one by one to Srinagar to make them join the Apni Party.

“They include independents, members of the Congress, PDP and unfortunately we also saw a woman, who won on the NC mandate; she was forcibly made to join the Apni Party yesterday,” he said.

Abdullah played an audio of a purported telephonic conversation between an NC leader and the husband of the party’s winning woman candidate. It alleged that the woman’s brother has been detained and her husband was asked to make her join the Apni Party to ensure his release within three days. HT can’t independently verify the authenticity of the audio clip.

“The woman went and the Apni Party members garlanded her and the murder of democracy started,” Abullah said, and added that the J&K administration was using the police to make arrests and detentions to force candidates to join the Apni Party.

He demanded that the NC’s woman candidate be disqualified under the anti-defection law.

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He said the BJP scored a higher vote percentage since it contested more seats than the PAGD and because voters turned out in greater numbers in Jammu-- about 70%-- compared to around 30% polling in Kashmir.

“In elections, to form a government, we see seats only, and not vote share,” he said.

Abdullah reiterated that the PAGD will continue to fight against the revocation of special rights enshrined under Article 370 and the bifurcation of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.

Demanding that the detained and arrested leaders are immediately released, Abdullah said the developments were a discredit to democracy and institutions.

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