Unpredictable politics over DDC polls in Kashmir

TNN Bureau. Updated: 12/5/2022 11:27:14 AM Front Page

10 in fray, polling today

Srinagar: People’s Conference led by Sajad Lone is seeking votes for the pen and inkpot, the election symbol of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The National Conference and the PDP, meanwhile, are seeking votes for Independents and campaigning against their original candidate.
As per reports, the repoll in two District Development Council (DDC) seats in Kashmir, two years after being declared void, is an indicator of the shifting nature of political alliances in the Valley — and of the confusion it can throw up.
The Drugmulla seat in Kupwara and Hajin in Bandipore are going to polls on Monday. Polling for the seats had been declared “null and void” as two of the candidates — Somia Sadaf and Shazia Aslam, both Independents — hailed originally from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
In this election, PC is supporting Shabnam Lone, who had filed nomination papers as PDP candidate in 2020. After the State Election commissioner announced the schedule for re-poll on November 16, 2022, PDP distanced itself from Shabnam and wrote to the J&K election commissioner to withdraw the “inkpot and pen” symbol allotted to her.
PC also approached the authorities to change her symbol, but the authorities conveyed to them that it cannot be done, as the date for withdrawal of nominations had closed nearly two years ago. November 23, 2020 was the last date for withdrawal of candidature for the seat.
In the past two weeks, senior PC leaders Mir Muhammad Fayaz and Bashir Ahmad Dar were seeking votes for “inkpot and pen” which is the official symbol of PDP.
Both NC and PDP are supporting separate candidates in the election despite being constituents of the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD).
In the polls, National Conference leaders Choudhary Muhammad Ramzan and Mir Saifullah campaigned for advocate Aminah, who had filed nomination papers as an independent candidate in 2020.
Interestingly, Peoples Democratic Party is backing Rifat Wani, who is also contesting as an independent candidate.
Apni Party, Congress BJP candidates are also contesting polls in the seat. An official said that ten candidates are in the fray. “We have set up 42 polling stations in the seat, “he said.

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