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‘Final nail in the coffin’ of democracy: Mehbooba says Kashmir police ensuring DDC defections

Amid reports of horse trading, Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti slammed the senior civil and police officials of the Jammu and Kashmir administration, saying they were helping the right wing Bharatiya Janata Party to violate the people’s mandate in the elections to the posts of chairpersons of the district development councils. 

“So much for Vajpayee ji’s vision of insaniyat, Kashmiriyat & jamhuriyat. Not surprised at all by recent DDC Chairmanship results. Two months were given to buy & intimidate the DDC members,” Mufti wrote on Twitter, referring to a slogan coined by former Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said the BJP had already murdered “insaniyat” (humanity) and “Kashmiriyat” by scrapping Article 370 of the Indian Constitution in August 2019 and now, by “manipulating the DDC election results”, it has put “the final nail in the coffin” of democracy.

Several winning candidates of the National Conference and many independents have switched sides to the BJP or ‘its proxy’ Apni Party, triggering accusations that money was on offer for such defections.

“Disgusting that senior officers in admin & police have taken it upon themselves to violate the mandate of people,” she said in another tweet.

Mehbooba’s tweets came after the National Conference also accused the BJP and the Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party, led by former finance minister Altaf Bukhari, of “undermining” democracy by “resorting to illicit means” to capture power in the DDC polls. 

The District Development Council polls were the first major elections held in Jammu and Kashmir after the Narendra Modi government scrapped the erstwhile state’s semi-autonomous status and divided it into two separate union territories.

After the results for 278 of the 280 segments were declared (counting has halted in the remaining two), both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Peoples’ Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), an amalgam of seven political parties that came together with a common objective of restoring the state’s special constitutional provisions, have claimed victory. 

While the BJP celebrated the fact that it is the single largest party with 75 wins, the PAGD has finished as the largest pre-poll alliance with 110 wins. Independents have won 50.

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