Kashmiri activist Lalit Ambardar hailed the record voter turnout of 98.3% in the Block Development Council (BDC) elections saying that participating in a democratic system is what civilized societies do. "I think that this is a great development and this is what normal human society would behave like. Participating in a democratic system is what civilized societies do unlike the pan-Islamism inspired Kashmiri Islamists and stooges of Pakistan who were actually running mafia till today."
Ambardar also hit out at the two families – Abdullahs and Muftis – at the forefront of Kashmiri politics. "We had allowed fiefdom via Article 370 and 35 A. We had accorded fiefdom to the so-called mainstream parties of Kashmir. The Abdullahs and the Muftis were considering Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh as their own personal fiefdom. Now that they are out of it, that mental barrier has been removed by the abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A and the people are coming up. Ordinary Muslim Kashmiri families, they want to live a normal life and they don't want to lose their children's lives to Kashmir's jihad. The Abdullahs and the Muftis are not sending their children to jihad."
Lalit Ambardar also suggested that territories occupied by Pakistan in the region be taken back. "With this kind of positive development with the support of the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, we need to shift this theatre of war in Kashmir jihad. We need to liberate Pakistan occupied Kashmir including Gilgit-Baltistan to ensure permanent peace."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter on Friday to share the news about the successful BDC polls conducted in Jammu, Kashmir, Leh and Ladakh on October 24. For this, he congratulated the Indian Parliament for taking the historic decision to abrogate Article 370, which ended the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in August. PM Modi wrote, "It would make India’s Parliament proud that due to their historic decision in August this year, the people of J&K have been able to exercise their democratic right with exceptional enthusiasm, as seen in the historic turnout of 98% that too without violence or disturbance".
The Jammu and Kashmir Block Development elections were held on Thursday and the results were declared in the evening; while independent candidates won 217 seats, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Indian National Congress (INC) candidates won 81 seats and one seat respectively. The Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party won eight seats. This was the first electoral exercise in the region since the revocation of Article 370 on August 5.
The elections were boycotted by regional parties such as the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The Jammu and Kashmir Electoral Officer, Shailendra Kumar held a press conference in the evening where he said that as per the data received by the authorities, the total voter turnout was 98.3%, with Srinagar witnessing the highest turnout of 100% and Pulwama and Shopian being the lowest at 86% and 85%. He also added that the security deployment was the same as that of the Lok Sabha election, and no additional security was deployed.