February 2021 News

J&K: DDC members from Budgam hold protest, demand re-election for chairman's post

9 February 2021

Srinagar: A group of elected District Development Council (DDC) members from Budgam on Tuesday held a protest here, demanding re-election for the post of chairperson. The group protested at the National Conference (NC) headquarters Nawai-Subah after meeting party general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar. In Budgam district in central Kashmir, Nazir Ahmad Khan - an independent DDC member - was on Monday elected as the chairperson, while Nazir Ahmad Jahara of the NC was elected as the vice-chairperson of the council. Khan was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but decided to contest the DDC polls, held in December last year, as an independent candidate. The officials said there was a tie between Khan and his rival Abdul Ahad Dar with each securing seven votes. A draw of lots was held in which Khan was declared as successful and thus elected as chairman DDC Budgam. However, the protesting members said the approach employed by District Budgam officials has raised a question mark on the entire process and 'quivered by its failure' to make a mark in the DDC polls, 'the BJP and its ilk is employing all dishonest means to benefit its B-team to grab DDCs'. The BJP seems to have shun all its inhibitions in winning crossovers through hook or by crook, one of the nine DDC members told reporters. 'The procedure of the lottery was carried out in an unfair manner. The DC wrote the names of the two contenders on a piece of paper and asked the clerk sitting next to him to choose between the two slips. The clerk had already seen the DC scribble the names,' he claimed. 'Having failed to make any mark in the elections, the BJP, and its ilk is now resorting to all illicit means to grab the power by coercing and intimidating DDC members in one way or another,' the member said. 'We had participated in the elections to ensure that the sacred space of democracy is used to benefit the people, but contrary to their claims on strengthening grassroots democracy; the government is derailing democracy and setting wrong precedence by stooping to such stumpy levels of political impropriety and fraudulence,' he said. 'We demand re-election for the post of chairperson,' he added. Earlier, the DDC members apprised the party general secretary about the 'clumsy and unfair' mode of election and lottery system employed for the election of DDC chairperson, a NC spokesman said. The visiting delegation acquainted how the local administration favoured a particular DDC member to benefit him in the election by ditching all established norms and rules, the spokesperson said. Interacting with the visiting delegation, the NC general secretary said such measures undermine the democratic moorings of the country and violate the mandate of people. 'Through DDC elections, the people of J&K had conveyed a message. The BJP and its ilk are unfortunately making an error in reading it. In a curious turn of events it is nose diving to the lowest ebb of political impropriety in a gambit to grab power in DDCs using intimidation, coercion and state apparatus to achieve that end,' Sagar said. 'The rampant instances of defection, and crossovers using coercion, intimidation and bullying post DDC elections in Shopian, Srinagar, Budgam and elsewhere in Jammu and Kashmir is a telling indictment of the BJP's brand of politics,' he added.