2 ex-Ministers, 4 former legislators among BJP’s bigwigs to be in race

NC, PDP, Cong reach electoral adjustments for Phase-I, 2473 join fray
6 Union Ministers, CM to campaign in J&K

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Nov 12: As the National Conference, PDP and Congress reached understanding for first phase of the District Development Council (DDC) elections, the BJP has decided to field some bigwigs for the polls while the party high command has deputed six Union Ministers, one Chief Minister and many national leaders for campaigning in Jammu and Kashmir as the party feels that it is virtually becoming BJP v/s All.
A total of 2473 nomination papers have been filed for first phase of polling, the nominations for which closed this evening indicating massive enthusiasm among the political parties and Independent candidates.

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Former Cabinet Minister Sham Choudhary and former Minister of State Shakti Raj Parihar are being considered by the BJP for Suchetgarh and Marmat (Doda) for the DDC elections. Charanjeet Singh Jasrotia, who had won Kathua Assembly seat in 2008 as an Independent and later joined BJP is likely to contest the DDC polls in Kathua district.
Bharat Bushan, who was the BJP MLA from Domana from 2008-2014 and Neelam Langeh, who was MLA from Ramban from 2015-2018, are in final stage of clearance from Domana and Batote constituencies respectively. Sofi Yusuf, the former MLC, is likely to be fielded from a constituency in Pahalgam.
Sarf Singh Nag, who had resigned as KAS officer in 2014 and contested election from Reasi Assembly seat losing by few hundred votes to the BJP’s Ajay Nanda, is all set to be the BJP’s candidate from Bhomag segment in Reasi district while Jahan Bi, daughter-in-law of former Cabinet Minister Abdul Gani Kohli is tipped to be the BJP candidate from Mogla seat of Kalakote in Rajouri district.
Other prominent BJP candidates, whose names are likely to be cleared include Iqbal Malik, retired Deputy Commissioner from Darhal in Rajouri district, Mohammad Rafiq Chisti (Poonch), Rakesh Thakur (Ramban), Sushma Thakur (Kalakote), Dr Fareeda Khan (Sopore) and Engineer Aijaz Hussain, national vice president Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (Srinagar).
BJP J&K unit president Ravinder Raina confirmed to the Excelsior that all these names are under active consideration of the party and likely to be cleared for the DDC elections.
Surprisingly, name of a `Bahubali’, who was involved in two murders and was also booked under PSA, is also in the BJP Panel for one of the constituencies of Jammu district.
Raina, who is overall Incharge of elections in Jammu and Kashmir, said Union Ministers including Smriti Irani, Dr Jitendra Singh, Anurag Thakur, Gen VK Singh, Partap Sarangi and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur have been finalized for campaigning in the DDC elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
Apart from them, the BJP national leaders including Tarun Chug, Shahnawaz Hussain, Zaffar-ul-Islam, Rajya Sabha member and Dushyant Gautam have also been finalized for canvassing, Raina, who has already toured all 20 districts of J&K for selection of candidates and campaigning, said.
Meanwhile, the National Conference, PDP and Congress reached seat adjustments on some of the 18 seats of the DDCs in Jammu region which will go to polls in Phase-I on November 28.
The adjustments were reached in a meeting of leaders of three parties attended by Devender Singh Rana and Rattan Lal Gupta of National Conference, Raman Bhalla, Ravinder Sharma and Balwan Singh of Congress and Surinder Choudhary and Master Tasaduq Hussain of PDP.
Insiders said the parties reached “electoral understanding” on 18 seats of first phase and will resume talks tomorrow for similar adjustments for next phases.
PCC spokesman Ravinder Sharma told the Excelsior tonight that out of 18 seats, Congress will contest eight, National Conference 4 and PDP two while there will be friendly contest on rest of the seats.
“We may leave some of the seats from our kitty for other like-minded parties. Our electoral understanding is for winning the elections and stop the common opponent,” Sharma said.
Meanwhile, 2473 nominations have been received by the State Election Commission for first phase as nominations closed this evening. The nominations include 352 for DDCs, 360 for Sarpanches and 1761 for Panches.
The last date for withdrawal of nominations for Phase-I is November 16.
For the first phase of DDC elections, a total number of 2644 polling stations will be set up and there are be 7,03,620 electors.
In Kashmir division 183 nominations were received for 25 constituencies of the DDCs and in Jammu division, 169 nominations have been received for 18 segments.