DDC polls not for winning or losing, but to rejuvenating democratic values in J&K: Naqvi

Srinagar, Nov 23 (UNI) Asserting that J&K is moving ahead with positivity and people trying to create negative atmosphere should be isolated, Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that District Development Council (DDC) polls are being held to rejuvenate democratic values in the UT.

“It really doesn’t matter who wins or loses in the polls, what matters is how enthusiastically the people participate in this democratic process,” Mr Naqvi told UNI in an exclusive interview.

The Union Minister said that the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) took a U-turn and decided to take part in the DDC elections after they felt they are being isolated as the people are moving ahead with development.

“First of all it doesn’t matter who will win how many seats in the District Development Council elections. It is not important how many seats will the BJP or the PADG win in this election… the important thing is to see how the people of J&K are participating in this democratic process,” he said.

“People were asking for the initiation of political activities in J&K… what better way to start political activities then DDC elections. This is the first time such polls are being held in J&K after independence and people are participating with enthusiasm,” Mr Naqvi added.

He said over 14 candidates are contesting from each constituency with lakhs of people participating in the election process. So, he said it is a positive development.

“I believe whosoever the people of Kashmir and Jammu decides will be elected. This election is not for winning and losing, but for rejuvenating the democratic values,” he said.

However, he expressed confidence that BJP will do well in the DDC elections as the people of Jammu and Kashmir have full faith in the party.

Mr Naqvi further alleged that the dynastic arrogance has been shattered following abrogation of Article 370 and the development after that. “So, initially they said that they will not participate in the elections till the time Article 370 was not restored. But they know that it can’t be brought back as it was abrogated by Parliament,” he said.

He said now the people of J&K have moved ahead on the path of development so they (local politicians) felt that they are being isolated and formed Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration. “PAGD has been formed by people who believe in dynastic and destructive politics. But, it will turn out to be their death declaration as the people of J&K want to be the part of development. Do they (PAGD) want to again put J&K in the path of destruction?” he said.

The Union Minister said that the PAGD thought that if they didn’t participate in the DDC elections they will be disassociated from the people, who are actively involved in the polls. “So they announced that they will participate in the polls,” he said.

The Union Minister said that these politicians never wanted Article 370 to go as so many laws, which were passed by Parliament for the benefit of the people, were not implemented in J&K. “As these laws were not implemented in J&K, it deprived people of various rights including reservation for SC/ST in political sphere. After abrogation of Article 370 so many central laws have been extended to J&K and has benefited people in Kashmir and Jammu,” he added.

“These politicians have benefited over these years from the funds which were meant for the development of the people. They are upset as now they will not be able to benefit from these funds as the power has been handed over to the people in the form of their local level representatives. Through panchayat, DDC and Urban Local body elections, people will have a say in the development process of their respective areas,” he added.

Answering a question about allegations that candidates of other political parties are not being allowed to campaign in their respective areas, Mr Naqvi said that the allegations are being leveled as PAGD has realized that the people are against it. “When a political party realizes that it is going to lose, it starts to claim that its party candidates are not being allowed to campaign or go to the people to seek votes… then they say that is the reason why they have lost,” he added.

Mr Naqvi said these politicians used to claim that BJP will not be able to even field candidates on these seats. But, he said BJP is fights election from all these seats.

“I believe touch competition is a positive sign of health democracy,” he said.

“All the central development and empowerment schemes were not implemented in J&K due to Article 370. But now as they have been extended to J&K, I believe that a revolutionary change in terms of development and empowerment will happen in J&K soon. “There was some delay due to COVID-19 pandemic, but now we are putting in our efforts to initiate these changes,” he added.

The Union Minister said many industrial houses are interested in setting up their units in J&K, which will help in generating employment. “There is absolutely no threat to Zar, Zameen and Jungle in Jammu and Kashmir,” Mr Naqvi added.

When asked why the members of Gujjar and Bakerwals are being uprooted from forests after several decades, he said nobody will be displaced.

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