Srinagar: Peoples Democratic Party leader Waheed Para, who was taken into custody by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) days after filing his nomination for the first ever District Development Council (DDC) elections in Jammu and Kashmir, has emerged victorious from Tahab in south Kashmir’s Pulwama area.
PDP president and former J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti took to Twitter to congratulate Para, the party’s youth wing president who is currently lodged in Tihar jail.
“Couldn’t be prouder of PDPs @parawahid who won his maiden election by a huge margin of votes. Despite being arrested on baseless charges right after filing his nomination people have shown their love & trust for Waheed. Hope justice prevails,” Mufti tweeted.
Couldn’t be prouder of PDPs @parawahid who won his maiden election by a huge margin of votes. Despite being arrested on baseless charges right after filing his nomination people have shown their love & trust for Waheed. Hope justice prevails. pic.twitter.com/MOU8gNUOic
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) December 22, 2020
Para is considered a close aide and adviser to Mehbooba Mufti, and in the erstwhile PDP-BJP coalition government, he had served as secretary of the sports council.
He was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in a case related to suspended Jammu and Kashmir Police officer Davinder Singh, who is under the scanner for alleged links to militants. DSP Davinder was arrested earlier this year for allegedly ferrying top Hizbul Mujahideen commander Naveed Babu from Kashmir to Jammu in a private vehicle.
‘Champion of democracy’
Para’s family described him as a “champion of democracy”, pointing to the DDC poll result as proof.
The 32-year-old leader polled 1,323 votes in the Pulwama I constituency, defeating the BJP’s Sajjad Raina, who received 321 votes. Apni Party’s Ghulam Hassan Mir was third with 125 votes.
“He has been a champion of democracy. His victory is a testament to that. We worked really hard for the campaign… in fact, the entire family went to the people to seek votes for Waheed. The people responded. Now all we want is for him to be free,” said Mehraj Para, his cousin.