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On seat sharing, PAGD says, “All IS WELL”

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Finalises list of candidates contesting 2nd phase of DDC elections

Srinagar:  After initial hiccups, the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) on Sunday reached a consensus over the seat-sharing arrangement for the second phase of the upcoming DDC polls in Jammu and Kashmir and said there is no rift among the alliance partners.

PAGD meeting was chaired by Dr Farooq Abdullah at his residence as the meeting held on Saturday couldn’t come to any consensus regarding seat sharing.

Sources said that PDP President initially expressed some reservation in attending the meeting but after a telephone call from Dr Farooq attended the meeting and all the ‘issues were resolved in a cordial atmosphere.’

That there had emerged fissures within PAGD regarding seat sharing were buttressed with the resignation of PDP patron Muzafar Hussain Beigh from the party yesterday.

Speaking to KNS, he had alleged NC of taking lion’s share and accused PDP of maintaining silence over the issue.

PAGD members on Saturday had failed to finalise the seat-sharing formula for the District Development Council (DDC) polls despite holding a marathon meeting, the third in two days, on the issue.

The alliance partners continued the consultations on Sunday as well at the residence of National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah, who is the chairman of the PAGD

The PAGD is an alliance of several political parties seeking the restoration of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status abrogated by the Centre in August last year.

Consensus has been reached over seat-sharing for the second phase of the polls in the meeting — which was the fourth such exercise in the last three days, a PAGD leader said.

He said the meeting, chaired by Abdullah, was attended by PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) president G A Mir, Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Lone, CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami, Awami National Conference senior vice-president Muzaffar Shah and Peoples Movement president Javaid Mustafa Mir, among others.

He said consultations over seat-sharing arrangements for the rest of the phases of the eight-phased election will continue.

“We are focusing on one phase at a time. The consultations between the parties are being held in detailed manner and in cordial atmosphere. Such exercises take time, but there is a consensus on how to go about it,” the leader, who did not wish to be identified, said.

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters outside Abdullah’s residence after the meeting, JKPCC president G A Mir said there was no rift among the alliance partners as everyone understands that this is part of a larger fight for the rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

“There is nothing like that (rift). Even if you give 100 per cent share to a political party, there still will be some lacunae,” Mir said.

He said the parties were contesting the polls as a composition and the Sunday’s meeting was held to fine-tune the seat-sharing arrangement.

“Everyone has seen this maturely that there is a bigger fight ahead and even if some candidate is not accommodated or some party has lesser seats, it does not matter,” the JKPCC president said.

He said when the elections to the DDC were announced, the like-minded parties decided to contest the polls unitedly. So discussions took place over the last few days between the second rung leadership of the parties on seat-sharing, he added.

“Today, Farooq (Abdullah) sahab called a meeting to give final touches to the seat-sharing arrangement,” Mir said.

He said the discussions have been by and large “satisfactory” and the seat-sharing arrangement is being prepared in a cordial atmosphere.

“The parties have come together in an alliance and will appeal to the people to defeat those who have forcibly implemented laws in the state and whose policies have not been in the interests of the people of J-K. This is a right opportunity for the people to protest in a democratic manner by expressing their anger by way of voting for the right candidate or combination,” Mir said.

Asked whether the Congress was in the alliance only for the polls or would continue to be a part of it, he said, “Those things will come later.”

“First is first. This is practical that election is the basis of politics. We are going to polls together with an agenda and, I think, we should focus on that first,” he added.

Speaking to KNS, General Secretary PDP Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura clarified that there are no issues between alliance partners.

“Seat sharing on DDC is not important to us. We are fighting for a bigger cause. Our fight is to get status of pre-August 5, 2019 back,” he said.

Without naming anyone, he also said those who leave parties on seat sharing basis are “selfish people.”

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