Major embarrassment for PAGD, Baigh elected chairperson DDC Baramulla

Safina Baigh showing victory signs after being elected as chairperson of DDC Baramulla on Saturday. -Excelsior/Abid Nabi
Safina Baigh showing victory signs after being elected as chairperson of DDC Baramulla on Saturday. -Excelsior/Abid Nabi

* Bandipora gets PAGD chairperson, vice chairperson

Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar, Feb 13: In a major embarrassment for Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), its District Development Council (DDC) members in Baramulla district today cross voted against its own candidate, helping Independent candidate Safeena Baig to become chairperson.

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Baig, wife of former Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baigh, an Independent candidate backed by Peoples Conference, Apni Party and an Independent candidate, Muzaffar Dar, had 7 votes while the PAGD candidate Advocate Qurat-ul-Bashir of PDP had support of two each of NC, PDP and Congress DDC members and an Independent member, Advocate Irfan Hafeez Lone.
Both the camps publicly demonstrated on February 8 that they had support of 7 members each when election was adjourned due to lack of quorum after PAGD members abstained.
But when the voting was held today, three PAGD members switched the sides and voted for Safeena Baigh. She secured 10 votes while Qurat got only four votes.
Sonullah Parrey of PC was elected as vice chairperson as he defeated the PAGD candidate Irfan Hafeez Lone. They polled 7 votes each. The winner for VC post was declared through draw of lots.
The PAGD candidate from NC Abdul Gani Bhat was elected as chairman of DDC Bandipora despite cross voting by one of the DDC members of the PAGD. PAGD had eight DDC members in Bandipora including five from NC and three from PDP.
Bhat defeated Apni Party candidate Firdousa Akhter. Bhat polled 7 votes and Akhtar six. She got two votes from Apni Party, one from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), two Independents and one due to cross voting by a PAGD member.
Kousar Shafiq of PDP was elected as vice chairperson of DDC Bandipora. She secured eight votes while her rival an Independent candidate Tahir Qadri got five votes.
As the elections for post of DDC chairpersons and vice chairpersons concluded in Kashmir today, PAGD has now chairperson and vice chairpersons in five districts of Bandipora, Ganderbal, Pulwama, Kulgam and Anantnag. Apni Party has in two districts of Srinagar and Shopian with Budgam and Baramulla having independent candidates as chairpersons and Peoples Conference in district Kupwara.