Omar Abdullah was released on March 24, 2020 after more than seven months in detention


The leaders of Farooq Abdullah-led People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration have hailed the people’s verdict in the local elections, saying they have given their opinion on the Centre’s move to scrap its special status and bifurcate it into two Union Territories. While the counting of votes is still on, trends indicate gains for the seven-party amalgam that was formed to help restore special status of Jammu and Kashmir.  

As of now, the Gupkar Alliance is ahead or won in a mammoth 79 seats in Kashmir, the Congress in 10 and the BJP in three seats. In Jammu, the BJP is ahead in 69 seats, the Gupkar Alliance in 35 seats and the Congress in 16 seats.

The BJP and its allies are ahead in 16 district councils in the Jammu province, the Gupkar Alliance and the Congress are ahead in four. In Kashmir, the Gupkar Alliance is ahead in nine districts and one is likely to go to JK Apni Party.

Pointing to the trends, former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted to say that the BJP “had made this election a prestige issue about Art 370 & J&K’s special status. The people have now spoken & it’s for those who believe in democracy to pay heed to these voices”.

In another tweet, he recalled the long road travelled by the political leaders of Gupkar Alliance over the last two years.

PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti said the results have made it clear that the people have voted for the Gupkar alliance and rejected the Centre’s “unconstitutional” decision to abrogate Article 370.

Calling the victory “hard earned,” Ms Mufti tweeted: “I was illegally detained thrice over the course of a fortnight. PAGD candidates were locked up in a government building while others barred from canvassing. Despite all these obstacles PAGD emerged as winner.”

Mr Abdullah played down the toehold gained the BJP in the Valley, pointing to the gains of the People’s Alliance in Jammu, known to be a bastion of the BJP.  

The BJP has attributed its gains in Kashmir Valley to the policies of the Narendra Modi government. Aijaz Hussain, who won the Khonmoh-II District Development Council seat in Srinagar, said the results show that a “propaganda has been bust”.  

The people, he said, have shown their faith in the prime minister and his policies and this “is a message that nationalists are prospering in Kashmir”.

Voting was held in 280 seats – 14 in each of the 20 districts of the union territory — in eight phases over a period of 25 days. The eight-phase election – the first to be held in the Union Territory after the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir last year and the subsequent detention of political leaders – was a bitter contest between the BJP and the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration.    

The BJP has dubbed the People’s Alliance the “Gupkar gang” – accusing them of being anti-national, especially after Farooq Abdullah’s speech in parliament in September advocating talks with Pakistan.  

The coalition has been accused of “going global” by getting “foreign forces to intervene” in the issue of scrapping of Article 370, taking away the rights of women and Dalits and bringing back “terror and turmoil” in the Union Territory.

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