DDC polls: Rajouri couple contests elections, vows to unnerve traditional parties

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A 40-year-old Javed Iqbal Choudhary and his wife Shazia Choudhary, who are fighting District Development Council (DDC) elections respectively from Peeri and Kotrenka area of J&K’s Rajouri, don’t come from any political family but want to overpower the traditional parties.

Javid rose from grassroots after winning Panchayat and Block Development Council polls, before filing his nomination form as an independent candidate for DDC polls.

His wife Shazia quit the government service to contest election from the seat reserved for women.

A postgraduate in Environment Science, Javid has been running his independent business in Koteranka and provides livelihood to more than 60 persons.

According to the news agency KNO, Javid’s date with politics began when his father who was running for Panchayat elections in November 2018 died of cardiac arrest while campaigning.

Javid took his father’s legacy forward and won the Panchayat elections by securing 1150 of 1300 votes.

In the first-ever Block Development Council election held in October 2019, Javid won by the highest-ever margin in J&K. He secured 248 of 312 votes polled in the election.

Interestingly, Javid shot to fame for his extensive work during COVID-19. “He has worked extensively during the pandemic and made masks and sanitizers for every household. He reached out to everyone, arranged movement passes and facilitated evacuation of stranded labourers and students. He even set-up village committees to impose lockdowns in rural areas,” a local told KNO.

Javid’s commendable work not only gained him massive popularity in his own block but across Rajouri district.

“All the traditional political rivals have joined hands against him. Those who have fought elections against each other in the past have found a common cause to work together against Javed and his wife Shazia,” locals claimed.

Javid and Shazia’s opponents are Choudhary Zulfikar Ali (former minister), Iqbal Malik (who lost three elections from Budhal-Darhal as independent and Congress candidate) and Liaqat Ali (National Conference).

The couple are fighting elections from territorial constituencies of Darhal Assembly segment which was the Peoples Democratic Party’s first ever victory in Jammu region in 2008 when Choudhary Zulfikar Ali won the seat. In 2014, PDP retained the seat and Zulfikar was inducted as minister in the then PDP-BJP government.

After abrogation of Article 370, Zulfikar deserted PDP and joined Apni Party.

Zulfikar has fielded his wife Zubeda Begum in Koteranka territorial constituency against Shazia.

Strangely, BJP has not fielded candidates in Budhal Old A (Koteranka) and Budhal Old B (Peeri) even as the party has a sizable vote base there. BJP has not also fielded their candidates in Peeri and Koterkna, raising questions about their secret pact with traditional parties.

Locals of the area told KNO that they will teach a lesson to traditional parties during the DDC election.

“They have treated people of Buddhal as dumb-driven cattle for the past seven decades. They have failed to undertake development in the area. We will show them the power of our vote in this election,” they said.