Setback for Modi's BJP as Kashmiri Parties Lead in First Election After Losing Special Status

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Polling was held in eight phases and was spread over 25 days between 28 November and 19 December for 280 seats of the local body; 14 in each of the 20 districts of the Union Territory. This is the first election to be held in Jammu and Kashmir since its special status was scrapped last year.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday demanded restoration of special status for Jammu and Kashmir as an alliance led by Kashmiri parties has taken the lead in the local government election.

A man gestures after he was detained by Indian policemen during a protest near the site of a gun battle between Indian security forces and suspected militants, in Srinagar, 12 October 2020. - Sputnik International
Political Leaders, Workers Detained for Protesting Against New Land Laws in Kashmir - Video
Results and emerging trends of the District Development Council polls show that the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) - a seven-party alliance including the National Conference and the PDP formed for the restoration of Article 370 - has won 65 seats and is leading in 49 others out of a total of 280 seats. Modi’s BJP has won 35 seats and is leading in 31 seats, mostly in the Hindu-dominated Jammu region.

“The BJP is the one which turned these elections as a referendum of its policy of 2019. I hope they have understood the desire of the people,” said Abdullah, news agency PTI quoted former state chief as saying. Abdullah asserted that if the BJP believes in democracy, it should immediately reverse its decision to repeal special status and respect the verdict of the people of this region.

The Modi government abolished the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in August 2019 claiming that it is detrimental to the complete unification of the country.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Commissioner Sushma Chauhan said that restrictive and prohibitory measures were in place and no victory processions would be allowed by political parties and independent candidates without permission.

A paper ballot system was used in these elections, so the declaration of all the results is taking longer than usual.

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