New Delhi: Emerging as the single largest party in the recent District Development Council (DDC) elections in Jammu and Kashmir, the government at the Centre on Wednesday claimed that the people of the region have voted for development and democracy. However, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti alleged that “the party (BJP) used money, machinery and manipulation to win the seats”.Also Read - Centre Warns 5 States, 1 UT Amid Rising Covid Cases; Tells Them to Curb Infection, Fatality | Check List Here

Winning 75 seats alone in the elections, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said the people of Jammu and Kashmir have voted for development and rejected the politics of rhetoric that he claimed was intended to underplay the “unprecedented” development work and pro-poor schemes initiated by the Modi government.” Also Read - Oops! Brand-New Road in UP Cracks Open After BJP MLA Slams Coconut During Inauguration | Watch

Referring to the just-concluded election in the Union Territory, Singh said voters could see the development and welfare schemes reaching their doorstep and alleged that opponents, cynics and certain disgruntled elements tried their best to create a narrative that no progress had taken place. Also Read - CBSE Class 12 Board Exams 2021: Board Acknowledges Error in Sociology Paper on 'Gujarat Violence', to Take Action Against Paper Setters

The voter has proved that he has come of age and can neither be hoodwinked by rhetoric nor by money or muscle power, added Singh, Minister of State for Personnel.

Meanwhile, holding a press conference Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that BJP’s good performance in the region is encouraging and by showing faith in democracy, the people of Kashmir delivered a slap in the faces of separatists. He said that the “lotus bloom” in the valley as a victory of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies.

Prasad said, “This is the victory of India, this is the victory of the democracy of India, it is the victory of the people of Jammu & Kashmir, it is the victory of hope and development. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has many thoughts and plans for Kashmir. It is a victory for that.”

However, the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) which was leading on the counting day has won only 110 seats and has failed to cross the halfway mark of 140. While dominating the electorate in Kashmir division, PAGD has only managed to grab three seats in Srinagar, with independent candidates winning seven seats, and BJP winning one seat from Srinagar.

The PAGD’s poor performance in Srinagar is being seen as the people’s disappointment with the older order and their willingness to go with the independent leaders in the valley. Independent candidates emerged victorious in 49 DDC seats, way more than Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party, which only managed to grab 27 seats.

Among the PAGD allies, the National Conference won the highest number of 67 seats, followed by PDP with 27 seats, People’s Conference took 8 seats, CPI(M) won 5 seats and J&K Peoples Movement only 3 seats. The BJP on the other hand, won 74 seats, including three in the Kashmir division. However, it only managed to get a clear majority in six districts of the Jammu division, including Jammu, Udhampur, Kathua, Doda, Reasi and Samba.

Congress’s Nasir Ahmed Mir, son of Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) president Ghulam Ahmad Mir, lost the elections from Anantnag’s Verinag constituency. Mir was defeated by Independent candidate Peer Shahbaz Ahmad.

The Congress party was restricted to only 26 DDC seats.

However, expressing happiness over the results of the DDC polls, PDP chief Mufti whose party is a constituent of the Gupkar Alliance said that she was pleasantly surprised because the BJP had “bulldozed” her party. And, about the BJP winning three seats in the Kashmir Valley, she alleged “the party used money, machinery and manipulation to win the seats”.

As per a NDTV report, Mufti said the results of the election were “very encouraging”, but added that she will personally not contest any election till the erstwhile state’s special status under Article 370 is restored.

In an earlier tweet, the PDP president said that the people stood against the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, which clearly showed in the election results. She said that her party did well despite the attempts to write it off.

At the same time, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Wednesday alleged that the Jammu and Kashmir administration was trying to woo the Independent candidates who won the District Development Council polls in supporting the BJP and “its recently formed subsidiary”. The People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), which include the National Conference and PDP, have accused the BJP of “forming” the Apni Party led by Altaf Bukhari by luring leaders from other parties.

“The administration has now taken on the responsibility of trying to collect independent candidates for the BJP and its recently formed subsidiary. It seems the government doesn’t have enough to do and has branched out in to this line of work as well,” Omar Abdullah tweeted.

The former chief minister claimed that an ex-legislator of his party has been taken away by the police to “stop him from contacting the Independent DDC members”.

“An ex-MLC of JKNC from South Kashmir has been taken away by the police to stop him contacting the independent DDC members elected in his district. At the same time the authorities are taking the trouble to transport some of these independents to Srinagar for ‘discussions’,” he alleged.

The DDC elections were the first democratic exercise after the abrogation of Article 370 last year. Besides the DDC election, polling was held for the Panchayat bypolls in 50 vacant Sarpanch seats and 216 vacant Panch seats falling within the DDC constituencies. The voting was conducted in eight phases and the counting of the ballots started on Tuesday.

(With Agency Inputs)