Gupkar Alliance’s has raced to the finish, left BJP gasping for breath in Kashmir Valley

Gupkar Alliance’s big win in Valley is a sign of things to come, CPI(M) won 5 seats says victory has roots in Kisan movements


The newly formed Gupkar Alliance’s big win in the District Development Council (DDC) polls is a sure sign of the changing political opinions of the voters. According to the former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, the DDC results have also “made it clear that people of J&K rejected the unconstitutional decision to abrogate Article 370.”



Ironically, apart from senior journalists reporting from Kashmir, any media coverage of the election was focused on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) winning just three seats, when it was beaten by even the Communist Party of India (Marxist) which had won all five seats it contested in south Kashmir in the DDC polls. The CPI (M) was allotted three seats by the Peoples Alliance for the Gupkar Declaration, but it chose to fight from five seats in Kulgam district, including the three seats allotted to it and won them all, stated a news report. It won all five. Without even a visible campaign. 

The Gupkar Alliance, or as it is officially named: Jammu and Kashmir People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (JKPAGD), has maintained a good lead in these elections.  The Gupkar Alliance came to life with a focus to work for the  restoration of the special status. Now it is well on its way to form councils in 13 of the 20 districts if the Congress offers it support, the BJP in five while two others could go either way, reported The Telegraph. The Gupkar Alliance’s victory is seen as a rebuff to the Narendra Modi led Union government. Many BJP leaders had called the alliance and its leaders “anti-nationals”.  The TT report recalled that in November Union home minister Amit Shah had  claimed that the “Gupkar gang” was “going global”, and that the alliance wanted “foreign forces to intervene in Jammu and Kashmir,” he added that the “Gupkar gang also insults the Tricolour.” 

The election results, however, show that the voters were not swayed by that. According to CPI (M) leader in Jammu and Kashmir Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami the win of the alliance, including the CPI (M) is significant in many respects, “I consider the victory of the Congress in Jammu and many parts in Kashmir as significant. Unlike the BJP, no top leader of the Congress visited Jammu and Kashmir to campaign” Ghulam Nabi Malik, senior CPI (M) leader, said the win of the CPI (M) in Kulgam district for decades on now has roots in the Kisan movement of the yesteryears, “I see today’s win as a continuation of the past struggles of the Left,” he was quoted in an Outlook report.

The communist party has won the polls from Kulgam constituency since 1996,  Tarigami has consecutively won from the constituency as an MLA for the past three terms.  A part of the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Alliance, CPI(M) has always condemned the revocation of Article 370. 

The alliance’s win, has come as a shot in the arm for all political leaders of Jammu and Kashmir, many of whom had been detained, or put under house arrest around the time Article 370 was removed and the state divided into Union Territories in August 2019.   



Now it is all about headlines such as: Gupkar leads, BJP flops in Valley, and younger leaders are coming into the limelight having proven their electoral mettle.



According to a report in The Telegraph, the seven-party People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, fighting for the restoration of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, was “winning or leading in 110 of the 280 seats across 20 districts by Tuesday night”, BJP was “winning or leading in 75 seats, including three in the Kashmir Valley” and Gupkar Alliance had 35 wins or leads in Jammu. And if “the polls are being projected as a referendum on the abrogation,” then these results are indeed the “first public expression of anger against the scrapping of Article 370 provisions.”

The TT lists the odds against which the Gupkar Alliance fought these elections, including leaders being denied a chance to campaign freely, and some candidates being “locked up” citing security reasons while some were named in alleged scams in the midst of elections. An example is the PDP chief Mehbooba’s key aide Waheed-ur-Rahman Para, a DDC candidate who was arrested days ahead of the contest in a militancy-related case, won comfortably in Pulwama, reported the Telegraph. Ironically the Congress had backed out of the alliance after BJP attacked it for “joining hands with “anti-nationals”, the non-BJP vote split, and the Congress was reportedly winning or leading in 27 seats. According to a news report BJP is celebrating its three seat win out 140 in the Valley. The Telegraph quoted BJP’s Jammu and Kashmir general secretary and Kashmir in-charge Vibodh Gupta claiming that this was proof that the people in the Valley had shown faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a “new Kashmir”. However, only 33 percent of the electorate in Kashmir voted, and in Jammu, the voting percentage was 68. That is perhaps a bigger proof of the on ground reality.



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