Eye on DP&DB elections, BJP doubles its BDC count @157

TNN Bureau. Updated: 11/7/2019 9:50:51 AM Front Page

‘70 independent chairpersons in Valley, 6 in Jammu join party’

JAMMU: Embarrassed by the drubbing in recent elections to the Block Development Councils (BDC) in Jammu and Kashmir, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has almost doubled the number of blocks won by it by roping in independent chairpersons, as part of its fresh strategy to perform better in District Planning and Development Boards (DP&DB) elections, which would be held soon in the newly formed union territory.
The BDCs are the second tier of the Panchayati Raj institutions and their chairpersons would now elect the chairpersons of DP&DBs, the third and final tier in the empowered grassroots democracy.
In the maiden elections to the BDCs held on October 24, BJP faced a humiliating defeat when its candidates could win on only 81 blocks out of total 307 contested, despite facing almost nil contest from major political parties which had boycotted the polls.
The independent candidates had won the biggest chunk in the BDC polls, winning 217 blocks--well over 70 percent.
Two weeks later, BJP has manage to induct at least 76 independent candidates into the party fold, taking its total representations in the BDCs to 157, almost double of where it stood on October 24.
The massive roping-in of independent candidates is seen as party’s freshly devised strategy to triumph in elections to DP&DBs.
There will be 20 DP&DBs formed in the UT of J&K, one for each district and they would be elected by the BDC chairpersons.
“In Kashmir region, the BJP candidates had won in 18 blocks. On Tuesday, 70 elected BDC chairpersons, who contested independently, have joined the party during a facilitation programme in Srinagar,” BJP’s General Secretary Ashok Koul told The News Now, taking its tally to 88 in Kashmir.
He added that 6 elected BDC chairpersons had joined the party in Jammu region recently, improving its numbers from 52 earlier to 58.
The party had a strength of 81 BDC chairpersons which has now risen to 157.
Koul doesn’t rule out the possibility of more independent BDC chairpersons joining the party fold in days to come.
The strengthening of party with BDCs chairpersons is a move aimed at bettering BJP’s prospects in the soon-to-be-announced elections to DP&DBs.
While the schedule for the DP&DB elections is yet to be made public, Union Minister and MoS in PMO Dr Jitendra Singh had said recently that the government proposes to hold elections ‘very soon’.
In the BDC polls, the BJP has fared badly in all districts-- except Kishtwar-- much to the advantage of the other parties which had though boycotted elections but had fielded candidates as proxies.
The BJP, despite being only party in the fray, couldn’t secure more than 27 percent seats across the state in the elections held six day before official transitioning of Jammu and Kashmir in Union Territory. In Jammu Division, independents had bagged 88 blocks followed by BJP with 52 and JKNPP 8. In Kashmir Division, out of 128 blocks, independents got 109 blocks while BJP bagged 18 and INC 1. Similarly, in Ladakh Division, independent candidates got 20 while BJP bagged 11 blocks in the elections.
“After a humiliating defeat of the saffron outfit in the elections to BDC held on October 24, the party’s high command has taken a serious note of its poor performance, especially in Hindu dominated Jammu region and had sought report from the then state now UT’s leadership,” one of party spokesperson said.
“After the report submitted by BJP’s leadership of newly created UT to the high command, it was unanimously decided to promote the party polices among independently elected BDC chairperson and get them to join the saffron brigade,” he added.
Implementing the unanimous decision, UT’s leadership is holding marathon facilitation meetings for elected BDC chairpersons.
“With effective efforts and implementing fresh strategy, elected BDC chairpersons are joining saffron brigade in Jammu and Kashmir region,” he said, adding “Definitely, the joining of elected BDC chairperson will give privilege to the party to sweep DP&DB polls.”
Interestingly, the UT’s leadership led by its president Ravinder Raina has also launched campaign in Kashmir.
In the latest event in the valley, BJP asked elected BDC chairpersons to follow the "Khidmat-e-Khalq" principle of the Holy Prophet.
“Khidmat-e-Khalq, which roughly translates as ‘service of people’, was one of the foundational blocks of the Prophet's life and the Madina welfare state which he had established. God has given them the opportunity to serve the people,” Raina had said recently in a meeting held in Srinagar.
“The duty must be discharged by them by following the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad and adhering to his principle of Khidmat-e-Khalq,” he had added.
Pertinently, the government on August 2nd this year had accorded sanction for the abolition of the District Development Boards. On the same day, the government had also accorded sanction for the constitution of DP&DB respectively, as per provisions of J&K Panchayati Raj Act 1989.

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