Jammu and Kashmir local body polls, Part VI: In Srinagar, local residents file nomination papers to ensure BJP loss


Editor’s word: With municipal and panchayat elections not far away in Jammu and Kashmir, Firstpost will run a collection of floor stories on totally different points of the polls, in addition to the state of panchayati raj establishments and the way they’ll empower democracy on the grassroots. The collection can even look into the state of safety preparations, as voters and candidates face threats of assaults by militants. Learn part Ipart IIpart III, part IV and part V of the collection right here.

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Srinagar: With political events desperately on the lookout for candidates in south and north Jammu and Kashmir, the place dozens of seats went uncontested in the first phase of the municipal polls, Srinagar is presenting a constructive image. Based on the chief electoral workplace, in all of the wards of the summer season capital, dozens of candidates have submitted their nomination papers. That is in sharp distinction with the scenario, notably in districts in South Kashmir, the place the Bharatiya Janata Get together’s migrant candidates have gained many seats due to the dearth of opposition.

In Shopian district, all migrant Kashmiri Pandit candidates gained the wards on BJP tickets, with no native resident submitting nomination papers. In North Kashmir’s Sopore space, the saffron celebration’s candidates gained unopposed because the Congress couldn’t discover candidates to contest the polls amid fears of militant assaults.

However in Srinagar — a hotbed of militancy within the 1990s — the scenario is totally totally different, with folks from even the outdated metropolis — the hotbed of separatist sentiments — contesting. Though militancy has staged a comeback in Srinagar after an extended hole, the candidates collaborating within the municipal elections are overtly roaming of their respective wards and urging folks to vote for them.

Representational Picture. PTI

When the Peoples Democratic Party and National Conference decided to boycott the local body elections, it was feared that the BJP and Congress would discover it tough to subject candidates. However opposite to such speculations, each nationwide events introduced candidates from the state capital. Additionally, numerous households, principally husband and spouse and some younger ladies, have additionally filed their nomination papers as Impartial candidates, stunning many.

“Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan just isn’t going to care for bijli, sadak, pani (the area’s want for electrical energy, roads and water) and different native considerations of the state. It’s the obligation of the elected representatives of this state,” mentioned Mohammad Aqib Rinzu Shah, an undergraduate who nonetheless is in faculty.

Shah mentioned the state authorities and its elected representatives from the unstable South Kashmir had been compelled to flee after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, and later, they forgot to hold out even primary growth work.

“The funds had been, spent however the place did they go? For those who ask them (legislators), they haven’t any reply. We pay taxes and growth is our proper,” mentioned Shah, a 21-year-old resident of Srinagar’s Kral Sangri space.

A lot in opposition to the advise of his family and friends, Shah filed his nomination papers from Mind municipality’s ward quantity 2. His opponent is a former activist and spokesperson of the Nationwide Convention, Junaid Mattu, who resigned from the party in protest in opposition to the celebration’s determination to boycott the municipal elections. He’s preventing the election as an Impartial candidate.

Mattu’s resignation was a giant shock. Many contemplate him the Nationwide Convention’s proxy candidate, and the celebration has not issued any assertion on such accusations. As a substitute, it solely mentioned that it was “happy to simply accept his resignation”. Mattu, who was an in depth confidante of Nationwide Convention vice-president Omar Abdullah, can be seen an ally of Sajjad Gani Lone, who heads his faction of the Folks’s Convention.

Based on stories, Lone will return to the Folks’s Convention, from the place he began his political profession, as soon as the elections are over. There are additionally rumours that he could also be elected the mayor of Srinagar.

Shah describes his contest as “jihad in opposition to the BJP”. Nonetheless, his detractors see it as a ruse to hitch politics. He mentioned he has the assist of some 40 odd boys and some ladies, who’re additionally within the electoral fray.

Shahrish Ahmad, a 29-year-old who submitted her nomination papers for a ward in Srinagar’s outdated city, mentioned: “There’s nothing fallacious with preventing for primary points. Why ought to folks model us traitors? Identical folks will then come to us to do their work. Our preventing these elections shouldn’t be seen as a vote for India or Pakistan, however for repairing small bunds, footpaths and graveyards.”

There are 79 municipal our bodies in Jammu and Kashmir, which incorporates two municipal companies within the twin capital cities of the state, six municipal councils and 71 municipal committees. For the Srinagar Municipal Company, which has the best variety of 6,63,775 voters, almost each different political celebration has fielded proxy candidates. For 74 of its wards, 330 folks, together with ladies, have stuffed nomination papers.

Whereas the primary regional events are out of the competition, it has brightened the possibilities for the BJP and the Congress. That is one thing that has triggered some extent of consternation within the Valley.

“By contesting the elections, at the least we are able to cease the BJP from coming to energy within the middle of the town. They’ve put Hindu candidates within the electoral fray within the Kashmir Valley reasonably than selecting a candidate from our neighborhood on this Muslim-majority place. We won’t permit this to occur,” Shah mentioned.



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