NC, Cong join hands in 4 Distts but keep fingers crossed

Final phase voting for DDC top posts today

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Feb 12: Though the National Conference and Congress have joined hands in four District Development Councils (DDCs) going to elect chairpersons and vice chairpersons in the Jammu region tomorrow as no single party has majority but the two parties are keeping their fingers crossed as in almost all four districts, the Independent members are also planning to jump into the fray.
Kishtwar, Ramban, Poonch and Rajouri districts, all reserved, will have voting tomorrow. While Kishtwar and Ramban districts are reserved for Women, Poonch is reserved for Scheduled Tribe Woman and Rajouri for Scheduled Tribes.
Former Minister and prominent National Conference leader Sajjad Kitchloo and Congress veteran Ghulam Mohammad Saroori, also a former Minister, told the Excelsior that the two parties have reached an agreement on sharing power in the DDC Kishtwar.
NC member Pooja Thakur will contest for the post of chairperson while Congress leader Saima Praveen Lone will be in fray for vice chairperson, Kitchloo said, adding they will share the chairperson seat for two years each so that more members get elected to the top post. The DDC has a term of five years.
Kitchloo and Saroori hoped that the elections will be held in transparent manner.
In ST Reserve Rajouri DDC, it’s going to be a fight between Naseem Liaquat of National Conference and an Independent Shazia Kouser.
National Conference with five members, Congress three and PDP one have support of nine in Rajouri. Apart from the Independent, there are three BJP members and one from the Apni Party.
In neighbouring Poonch district, the contest is going to be between Nazia Ghani of Congress and Tazeem Akhter, Independent. Congress has four members but one of them is sister-in-law of Tazeem. National Conference has two and eight others are Independents including Tazeem.
Clearly, the Independent members hold the key for the top posts in the DDC Poonch, which is reserved for ST Woman.
In Ramban district, National Conference has six members and Congress two and both the parties have already joined hands. NC candidate Dr Shamshad Shan will contest the election for the post of vice chairperson. BJP has three members while three others are Independents.
Though National Conference and Congress have clear advantage in Rajouri, Kishtwar and Ramban districts, their senior leaders are keeping their fingers crossed as NC had lost election in Budgam DDC despite having eight members of their own.
“There could be interesting contest in all four DDCs on February 13 as election in six districts held so far was mere formality due to majority enjoyed by the BJP,” the political observers felt and said no single party is in majority in the four districts and, therefore, the battle could be tough especially in the wake of cross-voting in Budgam and some other districts.
All six districts in the Jammu region where elections have been held so far, the BJP has won chairpersonship of all six and vice chairpersonship in five. It lost the post of vice chairperson in Reasi district yesterday in the draw of lots to an Independent woman candidate.
The National Conference leadership was confident that it will win chairpersonship in three districts including Kishtwar, Ramban and Rajouri districts where it enjoyed majority either with the support of Congress candidates and Independents.
With election for the posts of chairpersons and vice chairpersons in four districts of Kishtwar, Ramban, Rajouri and Poonch, the process of DDC elections will culminate.