How Significant Is Bla’ Traders Federation

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In Baramulla – Beopar Mandal has been one of the most important organizations not only for the trader community but also for the common masses, as this organization has not only been highlighting issues of traders but common masses as well. The credible faces who had represented this organization not only made it strong but it used to be respected by the government and other social organizations of the north Kashmir.


The Legitimate Desk

On Sunday after decades hundreds of people were waiting outside the office of Baramulla Traders Federation near Cement Bridge, young and old anxiously for the results after a hectic day of polling that even saw minor fistfights between supporters. 

Six candidates were in the fray for the coveted post of president and general secretary of Baramulla Beopar Mandal. And when results were declared late night Mohammad Ashraf Gani was declared elected as president and Tariq Ahmad Mugloo managed to win the post of general secretary. Other candidates, Shamas-u-din Maknoo, Bilal Ahmad Ganie, Qazi Ishfaq and Abdul Rashid Tczor managed to take good chunk of votes which showed that they were also popular among the voters. 

The election for the post of general secretary was closely contested between Tariq Ahmad Mughloo, former general secretary and Bilal Ahmad Ganie, a young energetic businessman from the town. At the end -Mughloo managed to win by a margin of 11 votes. Likewise, Mohammad Ashraf Ganie, a prominent trader defeated Shamas- u- din Maknoo who besides running pharmaceutical business is also managing – Greater Baramulla Forum, by a margin of 90 votes. 

As the news broke out that Tariq and Ganie were elected their supporters not only raised slogans but started bustling fire crackers to celebrate their victory. Since last assembly elections before the militancy erupted in the town, this was the first time when people participated in huge numbers in any election process. After the beginning of militancy, people of the town have been always staying away from the elections process both parliament and assembly and on the Election Days, the polling stations used to be empty.

This time it was a complete reversal and it looked like as if people were voting for either parliament or assembly elections. Such was the enthusiasm that all the candidates led a vigorous campaign for weeks in which besides putting up banners, buntings and posters, the candidates held road shows and used all the tools of social media to garner support. Face book and Twitter was also used to woo voters by the supporters of candidates. 

Not only traders who had right to voters, all the important social organizations of the town campaigned for their candidates whom they want to see as winners in these elections. Even government employees and students were closely watching the election. ‘’It was one of the best elections which I have seen in many decades in this town. The polling began at 9 am and people were waiting till 10 pm eager to know the results. Even updates on facebook was adding color to the election,’’ said Arshid Ahmad Khan who is studying in Degree College Baramulla and remained stationed outside office of Beopar Mandal on the polling day.

The administration was also keeping close watch on the elections and senior officers only left the venue when election results were declared and candidates who emerged as victorious made victory speeches and were taken to their homes by their supporters in cavalcade of vehicles.

In Baramulla – Beopar Mandal has been one of the most important organizations not only for the trader community but also for the common masses, as this organization has not only been highlighting issues of traders but common masses as well. The credible faces who had represented this organization not only made it strong but it used to be respected by the government and other social organizations of the north Kashmir.

Almost in five decades of its existence, the Beopar Mandal Baramulla has been on the forefront for highlighting issues of traders as well as common masses of the town. In fact, this body has always acted as bridge between the government and the common masses, especially traders.

Baramulla Beopar Mandal came into shape decades ago and initially some prominent traders of the town like Ali Joo Kantroo, Abdul Ahad Balroo, Mohammad Hussain Shah, Mohammad Subhan Sheikh, Baljee and Ghulam Mohammad Darzi used to mediate between people of the town whenever there emerged some dispute between traders. However, in 1973 for the first time elections were held for the Traders Federation and Haji Saifudin Zarger was elected as first elected president of Beopar Mandal Baramulla, while as Abdul Khaliq Mir alias Khaliq Pervaz, prominent intellectual and writer of north Kashmir was elected as its general secretary. The duo played a pivotal role in resolving the day to day issues of the traders but they also highlighted the issues that pertained to the town.

It was the acumen and dedication of Zarger and Pervaz that according to traders gave this organization a credible voice and influence. In 1984, after an election, then young traders Haji Anayat- u-llah Balroo and Irshad Ahmad Shah both prominent traders of the town defeated Zarger and Pervaz in the hotly contested elections.

Later Bashir Ahmad Kanroo got elected as general secretary of the trade body by defeating Mohammad Ashraf Ganie. The last contest for the traders body was held in 2013 in which Tariq Mughloo got elected as general secretary while as Ishfaq Ahmad Qazi was elected as the president. In its tenure both Qazi and Mughloo have managed to undertake some good welfare steps for the traders and for the first time trade body managed to purchase its own spacious office in the heart of the town.

Also during 2014 floods the young and energetic members of this body managed to distribute relief worth lakhs of rupees in the city where most of the areas had got marooned by the floods.

‘’In absence of proper representative, we consider the president and secretary of this organization as our sole representatives. We have many problems and are hopeful the newly elected body will try to resolve them one by one. In the past, Beopar Mandal has done remarkable work whosoever represented it. We are hopeful new leadership will follow on the footsteps of their predecessors,’’ said Bilal Ahmad a prominent trader in the town.

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