Forget 370, BDC polls set off new political discourse in Kashmir

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‘Council elections trigger debate; Sarpanchs, Panchs in demand across Valley’ 

Srinagar, Oct 08 (KNO): With Block Development (BDC) elections in Kashmir on cards, the political discourse has completely changed in Kashmir in last few days as Sarpanchs and Panchs are being reached out by parties to win maximum Councils.

According to wire service—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), the discourse started after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) started ground work to invite the panchayat members into their party fold and claimed to have roped in over 300 panchayat members post abrogation of Article 370 by the Government of India (GoI).

The announcement about BDC polls was made during a press conference by Chief Electoral Office (CEO), Shailendra Kumar after the Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj issued SRO 522 dated 03-09-2019, notifying the Block Development Councils along with their constituent panchayat halqas. 

And with the announcement of holding the BDC polls, the second tier of Panchayat polls, BJP framed block level committees, announced in-charges for the elections across Kashmir.

With hue and cry about the detention of political leaders and party functionaries in Kashmir and all the major political party offices wearing desolate look in Kashmir.

The political party leaders have been talking about whether to participate in BDC polls or not. None of the political leader has so far spoken about the GoI’s decision over the revocation of special status to the state.

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On Sunday, a 15 member National Conference (NC) delegation from Jammu province led by its provincial president Davinder Singh Rana met party president Dr. Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah on Sunday. According to KNO, the delegation stayed there for more than half an hour, but didn’t divulge any information about the meet.

“This was first time in last two months that Jammu and Kashmir government has allowed any delegation to meet Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, but they didn’t utter a single word about the abrogation of Article 370 and about the prevailing situation across Kashmir,” said a senior journalist.

Rather than showing concern over the ongoing situation, Omar was seen taking selfies outside Hari Nivas mansion with the party colleagues during their meet. 

Two parliamentarians from the party Mohammad Akbar Lone and retired justice Hasnain Masoudi spoke only about the wellbeing of Omar rather commenting on the ongoing situation and future of J&K.
Later, Rana led delegation met Dr. Farooq Abdullah at his residence turned sub-jail in the afternoon, where Farooq Abdullah has been placed under arrest after slapped with the Public Safety Act (PSA). 

Dr. Abdullah with his wife Moli Abdullah welcomed the delegation. “Senior Abdullah was seen showing victory sign as if nothing has happened in the state,” he added. 

After over 40 minutes of meet with senior Abdullah, party’s provincial president Davinder Singh Rana told media that there was anguish about developments particularly about continuous lockdown of the people.

Peoples Democratic Party and Congress Party has got trapped in the same situation, where they have to decide whether to take part in upcoming polls- scheduled on 24th of this month or mobilize its cadre about pursuing for the restoration of special status of J&K. 

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