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PAGD decides to contest DDC elections

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Will not allow sacred space to be invaded and marauded; Abdullah to announce names: Sajad Lone

Jammu: In a major political development in Jammu and Kashmir, mainstream political parties, part of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), on Saturday announced it will contest the forthcoming District Development Council elections “unitedly”.

Announcing the decision taken at their meeting in Jammu earlier during the day, PAGD spokesperson Sajad Gani Lone said that modalities for fielding common candidates will be worked out. However, the list of candidates will be released by National Conference president Dr Farooq Abdullah, who is heading the PAGD.

The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is going to first ever DDC elections on party basis in eight phases beginning November 28. The last phase of polling is scheduled to take place on December 19.

The PAGD decided to participate in the DDC polls at its first meeting in Jammu, since its formation last month.

The parties, including National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party, People’s Conference, Awami National Conference, CPI(M), CPM and JK People’s Movement, are part of the PAGD, which was formed for the restoration of special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

“One point of the agenda (for the meeting) was the upcoming DDC elections, and a unanimous decision was taken that we will fight these elections unitedly despite the abruptness of the timing,” Lone, said.

“All of a sudden, they (government) sprung a surprise and are going to finish the task within a month,” said Lone, who was flanked by NC leader and PAGD chairperson Farooq Abdullah and PDP chief and the alliance’s vice-chairperson Mehbooba Mufti.

He said the PAGD will go through the modalities and Farooq Abdullah would release the names of candidates.

NC vice-president Omar Abdullah and CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami, were among the other leaders, who were at the meeting.

PAGD holds first meeting in Jammu; meets delegations

Jammu: National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah’s Bathindi residence here remained abuzz with political activity on Saturday, as members of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration met in Jammu for the first time since its formation last month.

Several delegations met leaders of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), which was formed by seven mainstream political parties of the Union Territory for the restoration of special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

“Today, we met for the first time in Jammu and a number of people from the civil society and political parties met us, and we are happy that the sentiment which we saw in Kashmir is also found here,” Sajad Gani Lone, who is the spokesperson for the alliance, told reporters.

Members of the alliance had earlier held meetings in the Kashmir division of the Union Territory.

The meeting was attended by PDP president and PAGD vice-chairperson Mehbooba Mufti, CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami, People’s Conference chairman Lone, Awami National Conference’s senior vice-president Muzaffar Shah, Peoples Movement leader Javed Mustafa Mir and other leaders of the alliance.

They reached PAGD chairperson Farooq Abdullah’s Bhatindi residence in the morning for the meeting.

National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah and former PDP legislator Firdous Tak were also present at the meeting.

Over 30 delegations visited former chief minister Farooq Abdullah’s residence before the start of the meeting at around 4 pm.

Prominent among the visitors included veteran politician and patron of the National Panthers Party (NPP) Prof Bhim Singh.

Lone said that a delegation of Sikhs met the leaders in the morning followed by delegations from the Kashmiri migrant Pandit community and Gaddi and Sippi communities.

Delegations of Dalits, schedule castes, transporters and farmers were among those who met leaders of the alliance, he said.

“They are all facing grave economic and administrative problems but apart from that, the common thread in our thinking and their thinking was that they are all unhappy and hurt by the decisions of August 05 last year — as much as we are hurt there (in Kashmir), they are hurt here (in Jammu),” Lone said.

He said this process of interactions would continue.

The Centre on August 05 last year had abrogated the special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, and bifurcated it into union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

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