Election to key DDC posts; NC led PAGD, Cong fail to open account in Jammu

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Jammu: In an interesting turn of events during election of chairperson and vice-chairperson in seven of the ten District Development Councils across Jammu  division, the National Conference led People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) and the Congress has so far failed to open its account.

As the electoral process for election to key positions concluded in the remaining four DDCs on Saturday, independents got hold of Poonch district. The elections in other three districts of Kishtwar, Ramban and Rajouri were postponed for want of quorum.

The election of DDC chairpersons and vice chairpersons in four districts in Muslim dominated Chenab Valley and Pir Panjal region were scheduled to be held in the morning. The National Conference and Congress had joined hands to have control over the last four DDCs in Jammu division.

In Poonch district, the National Conference had two and Congress four members, just short of two to have a majority in the 14-member Council. However, in the secret ballot, independent Tazeem Akhtar and Mohammad Ashfaq, both independents, got eight votes each and were elected as chairperson and vice chairperson, respectively.

They defeated Nazia Ganhi of Congress and Wajid Bashir Khan, an independent, who polled six votes each. Sources attributed their defeat to cross voting within the NC-Congress alliance, pointing out that NC members were accompanying the chairperson and Congress members were seen with the vice chairperson after the declaration of results.

Significantly, Nazia Ganhi who represents Sathra happens to be sister-in-law of Rukhsana Kousar of Congress (Lasana constituency) as both are married to two real brothers.

In Rajouri district where NC has five membes, followed by Congress and BJP (three each), PDP, Apni Party and independent (one each), election of chairperson and vice chairperson was adjourned for lack of quorum.

Sources said that around 11.30 pm, only eight members comprising NC’s four, Congress (3) and PDP (1) assembled at the office of Rajouri Deputy Commissioner and kept waiting for two more members to come for completion of quorum. Around 12.45 pm, they were joined by another NC member Khalid Hussain from Doongi, but he made clear to all that he was himself a nominee for the post of chairperson and he was not going to support anyone.

None of the remaining five members including BJP’s three, Apni Party and Independent (one each) turned out at the election venue. As ten members were required to be present to meet the quorum, Deputy Commissioner adjourned the elections.

In Kishtwar district also, NC suffered a setback as it failed to gain hold of the District Development Council despite having the support of eight members including Congress’ three. The election of chairperson and vice chairperson there too got adjourned there too for want of quorum.

 Giving details, sources said that both NC and Congress had gathered 11 members on its side till Friday late evening and accordingly announced the names of Pooja Thakur of Dachhan and Saima Parveen Lone of Mughal Maidan for the posts of chairperson and vice chairperson, respectively.

However, on Saturday, only nine members reached the office of Kishtwar Deputy Commissioner at 11 am and kept waiting for Shareefa Begum (NC) from Thakrie and Mohammad Zafarullah (independent) from Marwah till 1.30 pm. As duo did not turn up at the election venue, Kishtwar Deputy Commissioner adjourned the elections.

Later, Shareefa Begum expressing concern over NC’s not fielding her for chairperson joined Apni Party.

In Ramban district too, the elections were adjourned due to lack of quorum as only eight members including NC’s six and Congress’ two turned up at the meeting. Six others including BJP and independents (three each) did not turn up at the election venue, making Ramban Deputy Commissioner adjourn the election process.

The respective Deputy Commissioners are likely to issue fresh notification for election of chairperson and vice chairperson next week.

So far, BJP has already got hold of six DDCs including  Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Reasi, Udhampur and Doda. Poonch has gone to independents on Saturday.

Of the 10 districts in Kashmir, PAGD had got hold of only five DDCs including Bandipore, Kulgam, Pulwama, Ganderbal and Anantnag. Of these, NC heads at three places and PDP and CPM (one each).

So far, BJP has already got hold of six DDCs including  Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Reasi, Udhampur and Doda. Poonch has gone to independents on Saturday.

Of the 10 districts in Kashmir, PAGD had got hold of only five DDCs including Bandipore, Kulgam, Pulwama, Ganderbal and Anantnag. Of these, NC heads at three places and PDP and CPM (one each).