PDP rebels to field candidates for Panchayat polls
JAMMU, Nov 8: Political activity once again gained momentum in the State when BJP general secretary and party’s pointman on Jammu and Kashmir, Ram Madhav met People’s Conference chairman Sajjad Ghani Lone and newly elected Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) Mayor Junaid Mattu in the presence of three prominent leaders of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Srinagar.
Madhav reached Srinagar this morning from New Delhi, just two days after People’s Conference and BJP backed Junaid Mattu, who was formerly the chief spokesperson of National Conference, was elected as Mayor of Srinagar Municipal Corporation.
Party sources told the Excelsior that besides Sajjad Lone and Junaid Mattu, three PDP legislators including Imran Raza Ansari, Abid Ansari and Yasir Reshi also attended the meeting convened by Madhav in Srinagar besides some BJP leaders.
The meeting deliberated on emerging political scenario in the State including possibility of formation of new Government in the State after completion of nine-phase Panchayat election process in the State on December 11.
“We will take a call on whether to form the Government or not after Panchayat elections. The numbers also remained a problem,” party sources said, adding that priorities of BJP-backed Mayor in Kashmir were also discussed threadbare.
However, in a significant announcement, the PDP legislators at the meeting unanimously decided to defy the party call for boycott of Panchayat elections and participate in the polls openly.
PDP MLA Imran Raza Ansari, former Minister, told the Excelsior after the meeting that the Panchayat elections are democratic exercise which will give powers to the people at grass-root level and, therefore, it was unanimously decided in the meeting that they will be participating in the elections and make the electoral exercise a success.
Party insiders said apart from the three PDP legislators, Sajjad Lone and Junaid Mattu also declared that they have mobilized their cadre for participation in the Panchayat polls, which are starting with first phase on November 17 and will conclude in nine phases on December 11.
The meeting was unanimously of the view that the Panchayat elections, just like recently concluded Urban Local Bodies’ polls, should be successful and violence-free.
It may be mentioned here that People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and National Conference have announced boycott of both Municipal and Panchayat polls. However, there were reports that some of their cadres were contesting the Panchayat elections, which are being held on non-party basis.
Sources pointed out that Ram Madhav also discussed with Junaid Mattu the development plans for Srinagar City, where this was for the first time that a BJP backed Mayor has been elected.
Meanwhile, according to BJP sources, the party high command will clear the names of the BJP leaders for the posts of Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Jammu Municipal Corporation on Sunday.
The BJP has submitted four names for the post of Mayor and two for Deputy Mayor to the party high command.
Names shortlisted by the BJP for the post of Mayor included Baldev Singh Billowria, Chander Mohan Gupta, Surinder Sharma and Arun Khanna while names of Purnima Sharma and Gurmeet Kour Randhawa have been sent for the post of Deputy Mayor.
“The BJP high command will clear the names for Mayor and Deputy Mayor on Sunday and convey it to the State BJP leadership,” they said, adding that the elections for Mayor and Deputy Mayor were likely to be held next week.