People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) President Farooq Abdullah asked for the ‘immediate release of PDP leaders’ who were ‘detained’ before District Development Council (DDC) election results on Thursday, 24 December.
PAGD members met in Srinagar on 24 December to discuss the results of the recently held DDC elections. Abdullah said, “Gupkar alliance is much stronger today than when it was formed. We are united and we'll continue to be united.”
Twenty leaders were taken into preventive custody before the DDC elections on Tuesday, including PDP’s Naeem Akhtar, Sartaj Madni and Mansoor Hussain. Abdullah said they were ‘detained for no rhyme of reason’ and the government must release them ‘if democracy wants to survive’, reported PTI.
Sajad Lone, PAGD spokesperson, said that the recent elections have been among ‘the most peaceful in the last three decades’ and ending it with preventive detention is ‘antithetical’, reported PTI.
Lone said, "We condemn these detentions with all the power that we have. And we just hope that after such a great performance of democracy, we are not faced with these arbitrary detentions. They (PDP leaders) should be released immediately.”
‘Restore 4G Internet’: Abdullah
Farooq Abdullah also asked for the restoration of 4G internet in the Valley which has remained suspended since 5 August, 2019 after the revocation of Article 370 costing J&K its special status.
Since India is moving towards 5G network, Abullah asked the Centre to restore connectivity in the Valley saying citizens are suffering without it. He reportedly said, "We request the government that 4G should be restored immediately. It is unfortunate that the people of this state, our children, students, business people are suffering because now everything is online.”
The recently concluded District Development Council polls were the first major elections in Jammu and Kashmir after the revocation of Article 370 as well as the crackdown, lockdown, incarceration of leaders and violence that followed.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has claimed victory in the elections, saying that it is the single largest party in terms of seats and votes.
The PAGD, which comprises seven parties including Jammu and Kashmir National Conference, Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party, Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference, and CPI(M) won 109 out of 280 seats, while the BJP won 74.
The PAGD is all set to take control of nine out of the 10 district councils in the Kashmir region while the BJP is likely to control of six out of 10 councils in the Jammu region. Four district councils in Jammu and one in Kashmir will be dependent on independents and smaller parties.
Independent Winners Being ‘Coerced’ To Join A Certain Party: NC
The National Conference has alleged on Thursday that independent candidates who have won in the DDC polls are being ‘coerced’ and ‘coaxed’ to join a certain political party.
NC General Secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar penned a letter to the State Election Commissioner, KK Sharma asking for 'immediate and forceful intervention’ to ‘save the sanctity of the polls’ so the ‘election process doesn’t go futile’, reported PTI.
Asking for the ‘undemocratic practice to be looked into’, Sagar said, "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."
(With inputs from PTI and ANI)