The results of the much-talked about and keenly-watched first-ever elections across the nation, nay across the world, to constitute 20 District Developments Councils (DDCs) in Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir (UTJK) are out. The BJP has emerged as the single largest party winning 74-odd territorial constituencies, including four in Kashmir, out of a total of 280 into which the UT was divided for the purpose of constituting 20 DDCs, 10 each in Jammu and Kashmir Valley. The BJP opened its account in Kashmir for the first time in 73 years. Significantly, the BJP’s five Muslim candidates won, four in Kashmir and one in Jammu province.
National Conference (NC) Chief and LS MP Farooq Abdullah-led People’s Alliance of Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) – a conglomerate of seven Kashmir-based parties — won in 110-odd territorial constituencies, including 23 in Jammu province. The PAGD’s four non-Muslim candidates won – three in Jammu province and one in Kashmir. The Sonia Congress, which overtly and covertly was part of the PAGD and won 24 territorial constituencies – 17 in Jammu and 7 in Kashmir, on Wednesday extended support to the PAGD. A statement to this effect was made by the JKPCC chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma. Interestingly, all those who won on the Congress tickets are Muslims. Not even one Hindu or Sikh candidate fielded by the Congress could win.
Both the BJP and the PAGD are in a celebration mode. The BJP is claiming that the people of UTJK ratified the August 5, 2019 abrogation of Articles 35A and 370, abrogation of J&K’s special status, creation of UT of Ladakh and conversion of the leftover J&K also into UT. In contrast, Gupkaris like Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti are claiming that the victory of the PAGD candidates was a vindication of their stand that all the August 2019 actions of the Narendra Modi Government were “undemocratic, illegal and unconstitutional” and that the mandate “is for the restoration of the pre- August 5, 2019 politico-constitutional status”. They have taken the mandate to mean a referendum against the August 2019 Parliament’s legislations.
The claim of the PAGD is as untenable as it is laughable and ridiculous. The fact of the matter is that their referendum balloon was punctured even in Kashmir by the Muslims themselves. How many seats the PAGD constituents – NC, People’s Democratic Party (PDP), People’s Conference (PC), J&K People’s Movement (JKPM) and CPI-M – won in Kashmir? The NC won 43, the PDP 25, the PC eight, the CPI-M five and the JKPM three. As for Jammu, the NC and the PDP won 22 and one seat, respectively.
How many votes the PAGD candidates got? They got 3,71,348 vote. The NC got 2,69,703 votes, the PDP 45,210, the PC 43,274, the CPI-M 6,407 and the JKPM 6,754 votes. If we add the Congress votes to the PAGD’s tally, the number would increase from 3,71,348 to 4,94,488 votes. The Congress got 1,23,340 votes.And, how many votes the non-PAGD and non-Congress parties and independent candidates got? They got 7,10,769 votes — 2,16,081 more votes than what the PAGD and the Congress got. The BJP alone got 4,87,364 votes. The independent candidates got 1,58,451 votes, J&K Apni Party got 38,147, JK National Panthers Party 12,137, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) 7,397 and People Democratic Front (PDF) 7,273 votes.
The PAGD and the Congress getting 2,16,081 less votes as compared to the number of votes which other parties and independent candidates got is just one part of the story on how the voters punctured the Gupkaris’ referendum balloon. The other part of the story is no less significant. The case in point is that the NC, which dominated the Kashmir’s political scene for 82 years and the state’s political scene for 57 years, is not in a position to form even one DDC on its own strength in any of the ten districts of 100% Muslim Kashmir. Similarly, it is not in a position to form a single council in the Jammu province’s four districts, including the 95% Muslim Poonch district and 70% Muslim Rajouri district. Even in other two districts of Jammu province – Kishtwar and Ramban –, where the Muslims are in strength, the NC cannot form any DDC on its own strength. In the remaining six districts of Jammu province, the BJP swept the polls. Significantly, the PDP can form DDC in Kashmir’s Budgam district, where it won eight out of 14 seats.
The political status of the PAGD and the NC could be determined from the fact that the voters in Srinagar district, which is represented by Farooq Abdullah in the LS and which is the centre of jihad and headquarters of the PAGD and the NC, decimated the Abdullah-led formation. It could win only 2 out of 14 seats. The remaining 12 seats were won by independent candidates and the parties like the BJP. The BJP, in fact, opened its account in the Srinagar district and it could be construed as the PAGD’s biggest defeat.
Indeed, the 2020 mandate augurs well for the nation, which has been suffering it the hands of Kashmiri separatists since 1947. Will the roundly defeated Gupkaris look all these facts in the face and close down their outrageous referendum shop? They must. The sooner they do it, the better. It is also hoped that Jammu-based supporters of the defeated Gupkaris will say a big NO to the PAGD and start working right away for the creation of separate Jammu state.