BJP attacks PAGD ahead of 4th phase of DDC elections

BJP attacks PAGD ahead of 4th phase of DDC elections; NC hits back

Smriti Irani said it was the BJP which is facilitating the maiden DDC elections in J-K as its goal is the welfare of the commoners

BJP leader and Union Minister Smriti Zubin Irani is felicitated by party workers during a District Development Council (DDC) election campaign in Jammu. Credit: PTI.

Ahead of the fourth phase of District Development Council (DDC) polls in Jammu and Kashmir, Union ministers Smriti Irani and Anurag Thakur on Saturday launched a blistering attack on People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), saying the parties have come together to “deceive people” and are facing an existential crisis.

The National Conference hit back at the BJP leaders and said “since they cannot talk about what they have done in the last six year, they are harping on the issues which do not pertain to the development of panchayats”.

Addressing a series of election rallies in Samba and Jammu districts, Union minister for textiles and women and child development Irani said the “Gupkar gang” has come together to “deceive” the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

“In this election time, Gupkar gang is just deceiving the people. They never came together to benefit the public but only came together for their own power hunger. They never came together to provide food, toilet and other basic facilities to the needy…,” she said.

The PAGD was formed by seven mainstream parties including the National Conference and the PDP to press for the restoration of the pre-August 5, 2019, position to J-K. The alliance is headed by National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and PDP's chief Mehbooba Mufti is its vice chairperson. The BJP has been targeting it by calling it “Gupkar gang”.

Seeking votes for the party candidates, Irani said it was the BJP which is facilitating the maiden DDC elections in J-K as its goal is the welfare of the commoners.

Addressing separate election rallies in different parts of Reasi district, Thakur, who is BJP’s in-charge of DDC elections in J-K and camping here, said “the Gupkar gang is facing an existential crisis”.

“The Gupkar gang is disconnected from ground realities and should look beyond their palatial estates to see the winds of change in J-K. Their attempts to bully, attack and disrupt the democratic process have met with stiff opposition from the common people of J-K, who want to oust the Gupkar gang once and for all,” he said.

The Union minister of state for finance expressed satisfaction over the turnout in the first three phases of the DDC elections and said “previously we have seen how they (PAGD) discouraged citizens from participating in the electoral process.

“They created an atmosphere of fear. The voting percentage was barely 3-5 percent and today the Kashmir region gets 35-40 percent voter turnout. This is because people are fed up and reposing their faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's politics of hope and development for J&K,” he said.

"Their politics of hate and harbouring separatists is over, the frustration of the Gupkar gang is at their peak,” he said.

He said the BJP believes in the politics of development for all, decisive action and democracy.

“We will bring employment and entrepreneurship to the youth, we will bring investment and innovation for businesses and we will propel local produce of farmers and artisans to the global level so that the region reaps economic benefits,” Thakur said.

Hitting back at the BJP over its tirade against the PAGD leaders, National Conference provincial president Devender Singh Rana said, “Their performance card is blank and they cannot talk about what they have done in the last six years, so they are harping on the issues which do not pertain to the development of the panchayats.”

“Let them come out with a white paper on development undertaken and jobs provided to the educated unemployed youth in the past six years,” Rana said, adding the BJP cannot get away from answering to the people, as they feel let down, degraded, humiliated and left in lurch during the past six years.

“The promises made were never kept and, in fact, the normal course of development was also put in the rear gear, as the self-centered agenda remained the top priority,” he said.

"The insult to the injury is that the BJP is again hoodwinking the people by emotive slogans, forgetting its role on the administrative and developmental front. This is brazen and speaks of the hypocrisy that is core of the BJP,” he added.