Srinagar, Dec 22 (PTI) National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah on Tuesday said the results of the just concluded District Development Council elections in Jammu and Kashmir should act as an 'eye-opener' for the BJP which had made these polls a prestige issue and a referendum on the revocation of Article 370 last year.
'The trends that have emerged in the DDC polls in JK are very encouraging for the @JKPAGD. The BJP had made this election a prestige issue about Art 370 and JK’s special status. The people have now spoken and it’s for those who believe in democracy to pay heed to these voices,' he tweeted.
Abdullah's remarks came amid counting of votes of the DDC elections, in which the People's Alliance on Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) has won 86 seats so far and was leading in 28 others when the last reports came in. There are 280 seats in Jammu and Kashmir.
He said the PAGD alliance had 'emerged out of the betrayal of the people of JK on 5th Aug 2019. We have faced every obstacle - illegal detentions, agency threats and pressures, our candidates were locked up to stop them campaigning and from all this we are emerging victorious.' He expressed gratitude from the entire PAGD to the people for their 'support at this critical juncture. We reaffirm our commitment to use all democratic and legal weapons at our disposal to continue to fight for our rights'.
Taking on the BJP for showcasing the three maiden seats won from Kashmir, Omar expressed surprise that the party was silent about the seats won and leads established by the PAGD in Jammu region.
'I understand the temptation to over play the 3 seats the BJP has won in the valley but why underplay the 35 wins/leads of the @JKPAGD in Jammu province. We aren't Kashmir based parties, we are political parties with strong support in both Kashmir AND Jammu,' he tweeted.
Three BJP candidates -- Aijaz Hussain, Aijaz Ahmad Khan and Minha Lateef -- won from Khonmoh-II seat in Srinagar, Tulail seat in Bandipora district and Kakpora in Pulwama respectively.
This is the first time that the BJP has registered a win in the Kashmir valley while facing regional heavyweights like the National Conference and the PDP.
The party's General Secretary Vibodh Gupta congratulated the party candidates who registered victories in the DDC elections, especially in Kashmir region, and said the people of the Valley have exhibited their faith in the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Earlier, Abdullah had told PTI that the results and emerging trends of the 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, said 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 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 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 NC and the Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP are among the constituents of the PAGD. PTI SKL RDM RDM