In the first-ever district development council (DDC) elections in Jammu and Kashmir, 38 Gujjar community candidates including 15 tribal women have emerged victorious, officials said on Wednesday. The People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) swept the maiden DDC polls by winning 110 seats, while the BJP emerged as the single largest party by getting 75 seats after securing the largest vote share in the union territory, in the results announced on Tuesday.
As per the data of the Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation, an organization of the Gujjar community, Jammu province has the biggest chunk of 26 winning candidates from the Gujjar-Bakerwal community. They are from different parties but a large number of independents from the Scheduled Tribe have won the election, as per the data. "Highest number of educated tribal youth of Gujjar community have been elected in eight phased polls, the results of which were announced yesterday and we compliment all of them," noted tribal researcher Dr Javaid Rahi said while releasing the summary of the election survey.
He said the implementation of political reservation in Jammu and Kashmir last year has made it possible that a high number of people from the Scheduled Tribes (Gujjars-Bakarwals)can be part of the governing bodies at the rural level. "In this election the community has had massive participation in the democratic process," he added. As per data, among the winners from the Gujjar community 82 percent are youths and first timers, while 37 percent are tribal women from the hilly and remote areas.
In Poonch district, nine Gujjars in total 14 seats have been elected which isthe highest number in all the 20 districts of the UT, the data said. Rahi also said Gujjars in J&K form the third largest chunk of the population after Kashmiris and Dogras and they have been playing a significant role in the democratic process since 1947.
While 38 leaders from the ST community have won the elections, around 28 have lost with narrow margins, the survey report mentioned. The prominent Gujjars who were elected include former minister and senior Congress leader Taj Mohideen and former minister and Apni Party leader Ajaz Ahmed Khan.