New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Farooq Abdullah-led People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration headed for a clear victory in the District Development Council (DDC) elections in Jammu and Kashmir, the counting for which was still underway.

In the first-ever polls held in J&K after it turned into a Union Territory last year, regional parties surged ahead in Kashmir while the BJP had an upper hand in the Jammu region.

As per the latest trends available, the PAGD was leading on 113 of the 280 DDC seats which went to polls while the BJP was a distant second leading on 69 seats. The Congress’ poll debacle continued in the local body polls in Jammu and Kashmir too as the party was leading on just 23 seats.

Elated by the trends, National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah said people from Jammu as well as Kashmir have extended complete support to the Gupkar alliance and endorsed its plan seeking restoration of J-K's special status by giving a befitting reply to the BJP in the DDC polls.

The results and emerging trends of DDC polls should act as an "eye-opener" for the BJP and "its proxy political party", Abdullah said in an apparent reference to the Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party.

The trends show that the people have not accepted the government's “unilateral decision” of revoking the special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019, and downgrading it to a Union Territory, the NC leader said.

Abdullah, who is a former chief minister, told PTI that the results and trends are an "important milestone" for the PAGD as they endorse "our view" that revoking of special status was not acceptable to the people.

"Now if the BJP and its proxy political party believe in democracy, as they have stated, they should immediately reverse its decision (abrogation of special status) and respect the verdict of the people of this region," he said.

Abdullah said that the BJP had flown in a number of Union ministers and central leaders to campaign for the DDC elections. "The BJP is the one which turned these elections as a referendum of its policy of 2019. I hope they have understood the desire of the people," he said.

The NC leader said that the PAGD, comprising seven mainstream political parties of the Union Territory, had made its stand very clear to the people and also that the alliance would seek all democratic and legal measures to restore the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir as well as its special status.

"We were not allowed to campaign much but still people showed that they could not be swayed away by the campaign launched by the BJP and its support party," he said.

The DDC election is being seen as a fight between the BJP and other political parties in the region.

The elections to this third tier of Panchayati Raj system were held for the first time in Jammu and Kashmir and were the first mass polls since the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019.

The polling was held over eight phases beginning November 28 and ending on December 19 as 51 per cent of the 57 lakh eligible voters exercised their franchise in the elections, which were largely peaceful.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta