Parties Claim Success In Non-party Polls23 May 2011
Srinagar: Even as the ongoing panchayat elections are being held on non-party basis, each of the three major parties- National Conference, Congress and Peoples Democratic Party- claim to have secured more seats than the rest. The parties bank on good results in panchayat polls for strengthening their support base at grassroots level. It also improves their chances of winning more seats in the next assembly elections as the support of elected Sarpanchs and Panchs help them garner wider public support. At the end of the 16-panchayat polls on June 16, the State will have 34000 elected Sarpanchs and Panchs in the State. Official sources said each Sarpanch and Panch represents more than 3000 people in his or her respective block. Cashing in on the election of Sarpanchs and Panchs associated with it, the opposition PDP has gone to the extent of asking them to promote party’s self-rule proposal. Senior NC leader and former chief secretary, Sheikh Ghulam Rasool said in Ganderbal district, the NC-backed candidates won majority of seats. “There was some infighting about the mandate, but the overall performance was good in Ganderbal including Kangan blocks. We have registered 70 per cent of success,” he said. Sheikh said out of 103 Sarpanch seats in the district, NC-backed candidates have won 63 and PDP only 22. “Out of 722 panch seats, candidates affiliated to NC have won 432 while PDP has won only 162,” he added. Rasool’s claims are outrightly rejected by PDP chief spokesman, Nayeem Akhter. “In Ganderbal district including Kangan, we have witnessed unexpected results,” he said. Meanwhile, Congress vice president, G N Monga said his party has fared unexpectedly well in the panchayat polls. “We are fully satisfied with the poll results so far. The results so far are unbelievable,” he said. The NC leader said panchayat poll results have a bearing on party’s strength and chances of winning more seats in 2014 assembly elections. Recently, PDP and NC locked horns over the poll results in Sumbal-Sonawari and Hajin areas prompting MLA Sonawari and Legislative Assembly Speaker, Muhammad Akbar Lone to issue a statement. “There was no reality that PDP had won 20 out of 38 Sarpanch seats. In Hajin area, out of 23 seats, 14 have been won by NC-backed candidates whereas nine have been shared by different parties including PDP,” reads Lone’s statement. On the other hand, PDP claims to have increased its reach. “Though the elections were held on non-party basis, but there was definitely a line drawn for the candidates by the respective parties. We can say with authority that PDP has its reach to the places where it had not a single worker earlier. You can say, we are everywhere now,” Akhter said. In Kupwara which has emerged as NC bastion after the victory of Mir Saifullah in the previous assembly polls, PDP claims that 70 elected Sarpanchs and Panchas have joined the party. Party president, Mahbooba Mufti also held a meeting with the newly elected panchs and Sarpanchs at Kangan wherein she directed them to promote party’s self-rule proposal. “There will be no progress and development until Kashmir issue is resolved so promote the self-rule proposal,” she told them. Meanwhile, Congress also claims to have strengthened the party base. “We have witnessed 90 per cent success in Uri, Ganderbal, Lolab, Kupwara, Shangus, Karnah, Dangiwacha and many other areas. We can say with full authority that Congress has strengthened its base in Kashmir and is set to spring a surprise in 2014 elections,” Monga said. A senior NC leader, wishing not to be named, said both Congress and PDP have wrong impression about panchayat polls. “Let us not jump the guns and wait for the last phase to be over. Once the results will be out, figures will speak as to who has won and who has lost,” he said.