DDC election: Candidates of PAGD members to fight poll on party symbols, says Farooq Abdullah

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Kathua (J-K), Nov 9 (PTI) People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) chairperson Farooq Abdullah on Monday said candidates of the amalgam's constituents will fight the District Development Council (DDC) polls in Jammu and Kashmir on their own party symbols.

Seven mainstream political parties of Jammu and Kashmir, including the National Conference (NC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the CPI(M), had last month formed the PAGD to fight for restoration of special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The BJP-led Centre on August 5 last year had abrogated the erstwhile state's special status and bifurcated it into union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

'The PAGD had decided that we all fight the DDC elections together but a single symbol cannot be granted so we will fight the elections on our party symbols and put up joint candidates of all parties,' senior NC leader Abdullah told reporters at Lakhanpur here.

Members of the alliance at a meeting in Jammu on Saturday had announced that they would unitedly fight the upcoming DDC elections in the Union Territory.

Elections to DDCs will be held in eight phases from December 1 to December 24, according to a notification issued by the State Election Commission.

Asked about his reaction to the BJP using the term 'Gupkar Gang' for the PAGD leadership, Abdullah, without taking any names, said, 'We are not any gang. We are an amalgam of all (opposition) parties and those who are dubbing us as a gang are in fact dacoits and that is why they are seeing us as a gang.' The NC leader also said he wanted to make it clear that 'we (PAGD) are not the enemies of the nation'.

Abdullah said they accept Mahatma Gandhi's India where all people, irrespective of their faith, are equal and every one whether from Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu or anywhere else are treated equally.

'We are not the enemies of the nation but yes we are the enemies of the BJP. They are working on an agenda to divide Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Christians,' he said.

Those indulging in propaganda, 'I will shut their mouth after the (DDC) elections,' the PAGD chairperson said.

Responding to another question, he said, 'When it comes to India and the need to speak for it, who was there in Geneva and the UN. He was Farooq Abdullah who protected the honour of the country.' 'They don't see this, and even don't remember the words of (former prime minister) Atal Bihari Vajpayee when we returned from Geneva,” Abdullah said.

He said all the delegations, which met the PAGD leadership in Jammu on Saturday, had serious concern about the new land laws which allow outsiders to buy land in Jammu and Kashmir.

On the US presidential elections, the NC leader expressed hope that the president-elect Joe Biden would set the wrongs done by his predecessor right.

'Donald Trump has done harm to the entire world. We hope his successor will set the things right,' he said. PTI CORR TAS AB ANB ANB ANB