Srinagar, Dec 23 (PTI) From 'panchayat to Parliament' is how BJP leaders see its win in three seats in the District Development Council elections in the Kashmir Valley, the first polls after the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state was bifurcated and made a union territory in August last year.
Calling it a healthy political beginning for the party, former BJP MLC Surinder Ambardar, who camped in Kashmir Valley to oversee the party's campaigning for the local body elections, said, 'It is important to note that a good number of young qualified boys and girls showed tremendous enthusiasm in contesting elections. This is a visible indicator for fresh leadership in offerings.' Winning one seat in all three regions of the Valley - Tulail in Bandipora in North Kashmir, Khunmoh in Srinagar in Central Kashmir and Kakpora Pulwama in South Kashmir - has given the party a strong toehold in its political arena and a major fillip to its ambitions.
'Winning Tulail, Khummoh and highly sensitive DDC segment of Kakapora is a healthy political beginning. We are following the mission from 'panchayat to Parliament',' he told PTI.
BJP candidate Minha Lateef, a final year law student who won from Kakpora in Pulwama, a hot bed of militancy, has dreams of serving her people. She accepted her father's offer to plunge into politics by contesting grassroot elections.
'I am in the final year of my law studies and my father Mohammad Lateef, who is UT vice president (minority morcha) of BJP offered me a ticket to fight the DDC elections. Since I want to do something for the people of my place, I accepted the offer and decided to use the platform to do social work,' Minha told PTI.
Even with a slender margin of just 14 votes, defeating PDP candidate Ruqaya Bano was a David versus Goliath task for her. Mina polled 364 votes against her PDP rival Ruqaya Bano’s 350 to win the Kakapora seat.
'I will continue my studies and will try my best to ensure all round development of my district,' she said, expressing her satisfaction over the win.
From North Kashmir's Bandipora district, BJP's winning candidate Aijaz Ahmad Khan gave credit to development works undertaken by his party in the Valley.
Son of former MLA Faquir Mohammad Khan, Khan said he hopes the central government would give its nod to the construction of a tunnel to ensure round-the-year connectivity to Gurez near the Line of Control (LoC) and highway status to Bandipora-Gurez road for tapping its tourism potential.
'I have been affiliated with the BJP for the last one year and winning a seat for the party is always a pleasure,” Khan told PTI.
Khan defeated independent candidate Abdul Samad Lone by a margin of 1330 votes from Tulail constituency, an area close to Line of Control, polling a total of 2523 votes.
'After completing my education, I followed the footsteps of my father and joined politics. The BJP is working hard to change the development scenario of Gurez valley which is evident from the support it got from the local residents,' he said, referring to the Gurez constituency result where the BJP candidate lost to National Conference opponent Tasleema Begum by just 144 votes.
He said he had sought support of people on development plank only as the issue of lacking round the year road connectivity plagues the area.
Khan hoped the central government sanction the tunnel for Razdan pass which receives heavy snowfall during winter and highway status for Bandipora-Gurez road.
He said Gurez valley has tremendous scope for tourism and if it is tapped to its potential, it will generate employment for the local youths.
Aijaz Hussain, an engineer who won from Khunmoh, has been with the BJP since 2006 handling various responsibilities across India as Yuva Morcha office bearer and member as and when the party needs it.
'The win in the DDC elections is a victory of the Indian tricolour, nationalists and martyrdom of BJP leaders for Kashmir. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is hugely popular in Kashmir. If tapped correctly, lotus will bloom in every nook and corner of the Valley,' he said. PTI SKL ZMN