November 2018 News

PDP Not Averse To Contesting LA Polls

18 November 2018
Rising Kashmir
Yawar Hussain

Srinagar: Days after National Conference (NC) announced contesting the next assembly polls in the State, rival Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is now mulling to toe the same line. Sources in PDP said the party leaders had been asked to gear up and reach out to the cadre in case polls were announced next year. PDP Vice President Abdul Rehman Veeri told Rising Kashmir that the party's Political Affairs Committee (PAC) would take a call on the decision of contesting the polls. 'When the time comes for assembly polls, we will ascertain what is best for the party,' he said. 'PDP has a proper forum to discuss these issues.' The decision comes after PDP decided to boycott the ULB and the ongoing Panhayat polls in the State. Sources in PDP said the district-level meetings have already been started by the party for preparing for polls with PDP President Mehbooba Mufti addressing party cadres in Bijbehara and Zadibal last week. Interestingly, Zadibal is the assembly segment of the rebel PDP MLA, Abid Ansari, who has been openly allying with Sajad Lone-led Peoples Conference (PC) since the local bodies polls were declared in the State. The party's gearing up for the assembly comes after the former ally and right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) along with Congress won most of the seats in the party's bastion of south Kashmir. In the meeting held last week in Bijbehara, Mehbooba is said to have assessed the areas in which BJP won (53 of the 132 wards) in the Urban Local Bodies polls held last month. Sources in PDP said Mehbooba took a review of the four civic bodies won by the saffron party in Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian districts. The BJP won in 12 wards unopposed in Shopian represented in the assembly by a PDP MLA while five wards in the district did not have any nominations. In Devsar municipal committee, the party won all eight seats represented in the previous assembly by the former PDP vice president and Mehbooba's maternal uncle Sartaj Madni. The BJP got a simple majority in Qazigund Municipal Committee, winning four of the seven wards while the other three wards had no candidates. In Pahalgam municipal committee, BJP won seven of the 13 seats uncontested while there were no candidates for the remaining six seats. Pahalgam assembly segmented is currently represented by NC, however, the PDP chief spokesperson Rafi Ahmad Mir has been an MLA from the area. In the last week's meeting in Bijhbehara, the party leaders also discussed losing of ground to Congress, which has a considerable support in south Kashmir. Congress bagged 14 of the 17 seats in Dooru assembly segment, which has been fiercely contested by State Congress chief, Ghulam Ahmad Mir and PDP sitting MLA Farooq Andrabi. BJP managed to win two seats in the segment while one seat remained vacant. Congress also won in Kokernag municipal committee, which is also currently represented by a PDP MLA. The Congress bagged six of the eight seats. In Yaripora, Congress bagged three seats while the remaining three were vacant due to the absence of a candidate. Talking to Rising Kashmir, PDP Vice President Abdul Rehman Veeri said the party had not paid heed to losing space to BJP as the whole ULB polls exercise did not have much credibility following the boycott by two main regional parties.