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NC, PDP panchayat members to support BJP in local polls

Some panchayat members from the National Conference, People’s Democratic Party and Congress have decided to join the BJP and support its candidate for chairperson of the BDC.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Oct 05, 2019, 09.17 AM IST|Original: Oct 05, 2019, 09.17 AM IST
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BJP
On the other side of the political fence, panchayat members from the BJP are enthusiastic about their participation and victory in the elections.
Panchayat members associated with regional political parties are considering supporting the BJP in the upcoming block development council (BDC) elections in absence of their party leaders to re-establish their influence at grass-roots level.

Some panchayat members from the National Conference, People’s Democratic Party and Congress have decided to join the BJP and support its candidate for chairperson of the BDC. The BJP has also approached some influential panchayat members from other political parties, supporting their candidature for BDC elections.

Candidates from the NC, PDP, Congress and other political parties have not been able to meet their party leaders, most of whom are under detention since August 5, when the government withdrew the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcated the state into union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

The party leadership is supposed to issue mandates in favour of their candidates for the BDC elections. The last date for filing nominations is October 9. “What option do I have other than supporting the BJP to ensure that I remain relevant in the process of development?” said Nisar Ahmad, a sarpanch from Kulgam in southern Kashmir, who is a Congress member. He has filled his form as a BJP candidate as the party has assured him that it will not field any candidate from his block.

Another sarpanch, who did not want to be identified, said this election is being conducted in haste and that everybody is afraid of raising his voice. “This is a selection, where one has no options,” he said.

Due to security concerns, most of the panches and sarpanches are staying in hotels in Srinagar under security cover. “I am supporting the BJP in the BDC elections. Is there any other option? Now we have to concentrate on development,” said Nazir Ahmad Ahanger, a National Conference panch from Khrew area of Pampore.

On the other side of the political fence, panchayat members from the BJP are enthusiastic about their participation and victory in the elections. “We will win 60 per cent of the BDC chairperson seats in the elections. And it is natural to convince the opposition members to join us in this new journey of development,” said AK Pandita, a sarpanch from Shopian, who is also candidate for the BDC chairperson.

Another BJP sarpanch, Nisar Ahmad Bhat from Pulwama, who is also staying in a hotel in Srinagar, said he had supported the PDP during the last assembly election but the party failed him.

“I met (BJP president) Amit Shahji in Delhi and he assured me that the BJP is only concerned about development of the state, which our MLAs and MPs couldn’t do for 70 years,” said Bhat, whose wife is also a panch and a candidate for the BDC elections in reserved category.

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