The People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) an amalgam of six political parties seeking restoration of the special Constitutional status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir won the elections for the posts of chairpersons of the District Development Council (DDC) in two districts of the valley for which the polls were held on Wednesday, officials said. In the third phase of the polls on Wednesday, the elections were conducted in two districts of the Kashmir valley -- Ganderbal and Pulwama and the PAGD, which includes the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), won at both the places.
While the NC won the post of the chairperson from Ganderbal, a PDP candidate was elected as chairperson in Pulwama, the officials said. In Ganderbal district in central Kashmir, NC candidate Nuzhat Ishfaq was elected as the chairperson, while Bilal Ahmad Sheikh of PDP was elected as the vice-chairperson of the DDC Ganderbal, they said.
Nuzhat is the wife of NC leader and former MLA Ganderbal Ishfaq Jabbar. In the DDC polls for 14 seats in the district which took place in December last year, the NC had won seven seats while the PDP bagged four and three went to the kitty of independents. In Pulwama district in south Kashmir, the PDP candidate Syed Bari Andrabi was elected as the chairperson, while the NC candidate Mukhtar Ahmad Bandh as his deputy, the officials said. The PDP had emerged as the single largest party in the district by bagging half of the total 14 seats.
PDP's DDC member Waheed-ur-Rehman Para -- who was arrested by the NIA first and later by Counter Intelligence Kashmir (CIK) and is yet to take oath as a DDC member - could not participate in the election for the post of chairperson and vice-chairperson, the officials added. Meanwhile, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said on Twitter, Congratulations to DDC members of Pulwama & Ganderbal for showing exemplary character & courage. They stood by PAGD despite unimaginable pressures & threats.
In the first phase of the polls to the posts of chairpersons and vice-chairpersons for three districts on Saturday, Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party won two Srinagar and Shopian, while CPI(M) which is part of the PAGD won from Kulgam. In the second phase of the elections, the polls were held in the two districts of Budgam and Kupwara, while the elections in Baramulla district were postponed. While an independent candidate Nazir Ahmad Khan was elected as the chairperson in Budgam, Jammu and Kashmir People's Conference led by Sajad Lone won from Kupwara district.