In a significant development for the volatile Kashmir valley , the former National Conference leader Junaid Azim Mattu, who quit the party sometime back to contest the urban local body polls in Jammu and Kashmir, was elected Mayor of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) on Tuesday, 6 November, 2018 , with the support from the BJP and the Peoples Conference.
It is worth mentioning Mr Mattu secured 40 votes while Congress candidate for the mayoral post Ghulam Rasool Hajam got 26 votes in the 74-member SMC, Commissioner of the civic body Peer Hafizullah told PTI.
Mr Mattu resigned from the primary membership of the National Conference (NC) in September after the party decided not to contest the urban local body polls till the Centre made clear its position on Article 35-A of the Constitution, which has been challenged before the Supreme Court. The other prominent local party of the Kashmir People’s Democratic Party too had boycotted Municipal polls citing same reasons.
Junaid Azam Mattu was a prominent face in media due to his excellent writing and speaking skills. He started writing a widely regarded weekly column called ‘HOPE’ for the local English daily Greater Kashmir. The first column titled ‘Hopelessness is a Sin’ was published on November 6th, 2011
As a matter of fact , He contested the SMC election as Independent from four wards, winning from three of them and was announced as the mayoral candidate by Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone hours after the election results were declared on October 20.
It is worth pointing out here that the Congress emerged as the single largest party in the SMC with 16 seats but fell way short of 38, the number of seats required to take control of the corporation.
While the Peoples Conference had four, the BJP had five candidates elected to the corporation. There are 53 Independent corporators.
Mr Lone, who was a minister in the PDP-BJP coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir from the BJP quota, is seen as instrumental in garnering support for Mr Mattu’s election, along with rebel PDP lawmaker and influential Shia leader Imran Raza Ansari.
However, Mr Mattu’s election as Mayor of the SMC has been clouded by remarks of Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik during an interview to a private TV channel last month.
The pulse on ground zero is that voices hope that Junaid Mattu will change the face of historical Srinagar city towards betterment, which over the past few decades has seen bad governance destroying the beauty of city.
Junaid immediately tweeted : “Unfortunately most of our internal drainage systems are choked and hence dysfunctional. It is both an infrastructural as well as a management issue and will require a two pronged resolution. We have to resolve this issue permanently and effectively.”
One hopes Junaid Azam Mattu will change the direction of Srinagar in a Positive manner.