5 DDCs to elect chairpersons, vice chairpersons today

Sgr, Shopian may go to AP, Kulgam CPM

Fayaz Bukhari

JAMMU/SRINAGAR, Feb 5: First-ever election for chairpersons and vice chairpersons in five District Development Councils (DDCs) across the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will be held tomorrow.
Five DDCs which will elect their chairpersons and vice chairpersons in first phase of elections tomorrow are Jammu and Kathua in Jammu region and Srinagar, Shopian and Kulgam in Kashmir division.
In both districts of Jammu region, the election of BJP candidates for the posts of chairpersons and vice chairpersons is certain as the party enjoyed majority.
The BJP has already approved names of Bharat Bushan, former MLA and DDC member from Bhalwal for the post of chairman and Suraj Singh, DDC member for Khour for vice chairman in Jammu district. The post of chairman in Jammu district is reserved for Scheduled Castes.
In Kathua district, the BJP has cleared name of Col (Retired) Maan Singh, DDC member from Basohli for the post of chairman and Ragunandan Singh alias Babloo, DDC member from Kathua, for vice chairman.
Meanwhile, Srinagar District Development Council (DDC) is likely to have its first chairperson from Apni Party as the party is enjoying the support of over nine DDC members while Kulgam will have the chairpersons from Communist Party of India (CPIM).
DDC member Kaiser Ahmad Ganaie will be contesting as chairperson on PAGD ticket while People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP) Manzoor Ahmad Bhat will be contesting for vice chairperson post. However, the PAGD candidates don’t have a majority and are unlikely to be elected as chairperson and vice chairperson.
The Apni party has the support of at least nine DDC members as many of the Independent members have also joined the party following the results of maiden polls were declared. “We have nine DDC members and are likely get to two more votes from other Srinagar DDC members, thus our votes would go up to 11,” an AP leader said.
The AP is likely to field Bilal Ahmad Bhat as candidate for chairman.
However, sources said that Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) lone candidate, Ajaz Hussain, who emerged victorious from Balahama area in Srinagar from Khonmoh-II constituency, is supporting Apni Party.
Deputy commissioner Srinagar Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, who is also the District Election Officer (DEO) had Monday issued a notification for a meeting of members elected to the DDC Srinagar to elect the chairperson and the vice chairperson of the Council as mandated under Section 45-B of the Jammu & Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act 1989.
In Kulgam district, the CPI (M) is likely to get the chairperson seat while National Conference (NC) will settle on vice- chairperson post in the elections being held tomorrow.
Senior CPI (M) leader and former MLA Kulgam M Y Tarigami said that meeting of the all winning candidates which was scheduled to be held today didn’t happen as many DDC members were not allowed to move out of their residences due to security reasons.
CPI (M) has won five DDC seats in Kulgam. The winners include Mohammed Afzal from Pombai, M Abbas Rather, Akhthera, Gh Mohidin Lone and Ruby Jan.
Out of 14 DDC seats in Kulgam, NC and CPI (M) won five each, while PDP and Congress bagged two each.
And an independent candidate today won the DDC election from Anantnag district of South Kashmir after recounting of votes.
District Panchayat Election Officer, Anantnag, had on Thursday notified recounting of votes for Larnoo DDC constituency and the proceedings took place at Conference Hall, Dak Bungalow Khanabal. Deputy District Election Officer Anantnag was Nodal Officer.
After recounting, an Independent Sajida Begum who had previously lost by seven votes, was declared winner by 61 votes against Khahda Bibi, a PDP candidate and the previously declared winner.
The recounting of votes followed directions by Additional Commissioner, Kashmir, the Appellate Authority, before whom Sajida Begum had preferred an appeal as per the law.
The DDC Election for Larnoo was conducted in Phase-1 on 28 November last year and the then Returning Officer had declared Khahda Bibi as winner by a margin of seven votes against her nearest rival Sajida Begum on 22 December last year when counting of the voting took place.
The Shopian constituency which is reserved for women is also likely to go to Apni Party after several DDC members joined it.
The NC may have chairpersons in Budgam, Ganderbal, Bandipora and Anantnag and PDP in Pulwama. However, there is no clarity on Baramulla and Kupwara districts.