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Kashmiris skeptic as local elections end

Shahana Butt 
Press TV, Kashmir

Local elections in the Indian-administered Kashmir held in eight phases have come to an end. The voting process has remained by and large peaceful amid stringent security measures.

After the revocation of Kashmir’s special status, regional political parties had refused to participate in the electoral process as a sign of protest against India’s decision.

That resulted in the strengthening of the Hindu Nationalist BJP in the Muslim majority region. However, this time the regional parties formed an alliance to take part in the local elections.

Compared to the past, a large number of people came forth to cast their ballots and many of them told Press TV that their aim is to keep the BJP away from Kashmir’s grassroots.

More and more people in Kashmir have developed skepticism on the overall electoral process after scores of video interviews of the District Development Council (DDC) candidates started circulating on social media. A number of candidates have no idea what positions they are running for in the local administration, and even worse, some have no idea what DDC means.

This is the first time that DDC elections are being held. Members of the DDC are expected to prepare and approve district plans and expenditure schemes, which will replace the district planning and development boards in all districts across the region.

Earlier, district development boards looked after the planning, approval, or implementation of centrally sponsored schemes. The results of the 8-phase elections will be announced on December 22.

Apparently, the elections in Kashmir have paved the way for other electoral processes in the volatile region. However, many say this ballot has made people of Kashmir politically aware of the fact that New Delhi is trying to thrust such an electoral process in order to create the impression that normalcy has taken hold after it stripped Kashmir of its autonomy, without actually working on building trust and bridging the gaps.

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