As the realignment of political forces for elections to district development councils (DDCs) has divided the Kashmir mainstream parties into BJP and anti-BJP camps, the battle of ballot is changing fast into a battle of egos and political ideologies. In a sheer demonstration of political egos the Home Minister of the country choose to court a controversy by calling Peoples’ Alliance For Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) the anti-BJP mainstream political camp of Kashmir “ Gupkar Gang”. Had the battle not been divided into Pro-BJP and anti-BJP camps , Altaf Bukhari’s Apni Party won’t have announced it’s willingness to withdraw nomination of it’s candidates against the candidates of Awami Itehad Party (AIP) headed by Er Rasheed who is still under detention. It is in place to mention here that Gh Hassan Mir the senior Vice President of Altaf Bukhari’s J&K Apni Party had supported Er Rasheed even in the parliamentary elections last year when Jammu & Kashmir was a special category state with Article 370 and Article 35 A very much in place. As combination of J&K Apni Party and Er Rasheed’s Awami Ittehad Party (AIP) has now come on the forefront against anti-BJP alliance called “ Peoples Alliance For Gupkar Declaration”, the elections obviously are only about politics but not about planning and development which otherwise is the basic purpose of putting elected district development councils in place. As such the Home Minister’s statement against the political ideologies of the opposition parties of Jammu & Kashmir has obviously dispelled the impression that elections to DDCs are part of the three tier panchayat system in Jammu & Kashmir as his provocative remarks have changed this battle of ballot for development into a battle of egos and political ideologies.
Since the powers of formulation and implementation of district development plans would continue to remain with the district development commissioners and their superiors in the planning department as they are vested with them today, the battle of ballot for developmental aspirations of the people has been changed into a battle of political ideologies.
Keeping in view the importance of this battle of political ideologies let the people in media and civil society dispel the impression that district development councils (DDCs) to which direct elections are being held for the first time in Jammu & Kashmir would have overriding powers the way erstwhile district development boards used to have in erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir state as the undeniable fact is that the directly elected DDC members won’t have the powers and authority which the MLAs and MLCs of erstwhile district development Boards (DDBs) used to have in the erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir state. Previously the cabinet rank ministers were appointed heads of the district development boards by the Chief Minister and they used to exercise their power and authority to fix priorities in district development plans for rational adjustment of the priorities of the legislators of the concerned assembly constituencies, but hereafter the elected heads of DDCs won’t have even the right to protest against any irrational and discriminatory plans for different territories of the districts. So the overriding powers in fixing plans for different territories of the districts would be vested with the concerned district development commissioners (DDCs) most of whom are presently non locals but not the elected heads of district development councils (DDCs) whose decisions won’t be binding on the district development commissioners and their superiors in the planning department. Since the powers of formulation and implementation of district development plans would continue to remain with the district development commissioners and their superiors in the planning department as they are vested with them today, the battle of ballot for developmental aspirations of the people has been changed into a battle of political ideologies.