The People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) on Thursday warned against disrespecting the people’s mandate in the District Development Council (DDC) polls in Jammu and Kashmir, saying tinkering with democracy is totally unacceptable. At the end of the first meeting of the alliance after the polls, in which it secured a majority (110 seats), PAGD spokesperson Sajad Lone said there were “disturbing" reports of “interference" in the people’s verdict and the “government of the day acting in a partisan manner".
The meeting took place at PAGD president Farooq Abdullah’s Gupkar residence here. “There are some disturbing reports coming about interference in democracy, in the people’s verdict, wherein the government of the day is acting in a partisan manner and in fact, becoming a participant by directly or indirectly facilitating moves by some people to attract independents towards them by confining them," Lone told reporters.
Flanked by other leaders of the alliance including Abdullah, he said the government should desist from humiliating the “great verdict" of the people of Jammu and Kashmir as history has been witness that such endeavours end up as disasters. “I think they should desist from this and not humiliate this great verdict of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. History is replete with examples that those who tried to humiliate the verdict of the people, ended up in a disaster. We need to respect this verdict and show respect to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Under no circumstances should democracy be tinkered with, interfered with — that is totally unacceptable," Lone said.
He said the people of Jammu and Kashmir, “after so many upheavals", have reposed their faith in democracy and “it is incumbent upon and the onus lies on the administration to reciprocate that respect and faith in democracy". Lone said the meeting was called to review the performance of the alliance in the maiden DDC polls in the Union Territory.
“We met and expressed gratitude to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, to those who voted for us and even to those who did not vote for us. We express gratitude to those who came out in very large numbers to strengthen democracy in Jammu and Kashmir," he said. People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti did not attend the meeting, but the party was represented by its general secretary, Ghulam Nabi Hanjura.
PDP sources said Mufti was unwell and thus, could not attend the meeting.
The NC also alleged that several Independent candidates, who have emerged as winners in the DDC polls, are being coaxed and coerced to join a certain political party and asked the State Election Commission to act swiftly to save the sanctity of the polls. In a letter to State Election Commissioner (SEC) K K Sharma, NC general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar sought his immediate and forceful intervention so that the entire election process does not go futile.
“I thank you for the successful conduct of the DDC elections 2020. However, while the elections and the counting commenced uneventfully, the entire exercise is set to go futile if you do not intervene immediately and forcefully," Sagar said in the letter. He added that a very disturbing state of affairs has come to the party’s notice as several Independent candidates, who won in the DDC polls, are “being coaxed and coerced" to join a certain political party.
“There are touts who are encouraging horse-trading. A display of money and bidding of price for joining them are taking place. At some places, threats and coercion are also being employed," the NC leader said. He said the SEC should ensure that such “undemocratic practices" are looked into and that action is taken.
“The EC can employ other means to ascertain our fears and concerns. Looking forward for your swift action to save the sanctity of these elections," Sagar said in the letter.