JEHANGIR ALI | 21 OCTOBER, 2018
Kashmir’s Reality: “9 Votes Were Cast, I Got 8 Votes, I Won!”
Local elections in Jammu and Kashmir
SRINAGAR: The BJP has managed to open its account in an election battle in Kashmir by winning 100 seats in urban local bodies even as the elections are being described as a ‘farce’ due to dismal, four percent turnout in the Valley.
Amid an unprecedented security cover, of 624 seats in 40 municipal bodies across ten districts of the Valley, officials said polling was held only in 208 seats while 416 seats did not require voting because only one candidate was in fray or there was no candidate at all.
“185 wards will remain vacant as no nomination forms were received from there and hence there was no contest,” Shaleen Kabra, J&K’s chief electoral officer, said.
While the independents scored maximum victories with 178 wards in Kashmir, Congress came second with 157 wards. In Srinagar Municipal Corporation, 49 independent candidates backed by Sajad Lone-led Peoples Conference (PC) and a former minister in PDP-BJP coalition government, sealed their victories.
Junaid Mattu, who resigned from the National Conference to contest as an ‘independent’ candidate, was claimed by Sajad, his former boss on Twitter.
“Congratulations to PC Mayoral Candidate @junaid_mattu and the victorious candidates from PC for heralding a new change in Srinagar and thanks to Irfan Ansari and all my senior colleagues for his successful campaign management during the ULB elections,” Sajad tweeted.
The BJP was contesting on 72 wards in Srinagar but won only four wards while the Congress won 15 wards out of 46 from which the party had fielded its candidates. The election results have given the party a reason to celebrate the victory in not only Kashmir but Jammu too where it was facing infighting and desertions.
Defying all the commentary, the party, going by the election results, has strengthened its grip in the Hindu-majority Jammu region where it emerged as the single largest party with 212 wards followed by independents with 185 and Congress’s 110 seats.
“Maiden century for BJP in Kashmir Valley. Out of 439 Urban Body seats, BJP has won 100. It will be in control of at least six municipal bodies. Hearty congratulations to BJP winners for holding India’s flag high when others simplay surrendered to anti-national forces n ran away (sic),” Ram Madhav, BJP’s general secretary and point-man on Kashmir tweeted.
In some cases, the election results were hilarious and entertaining. One candidate, perhaps for the first time in the history of electoral democracy, knew he won the election even before the results were declared, “I already knew that nine votes were polled in my ward of which I got eight, so nothing surprising,” Bashir Mir, who won from Bagh-e-Mehtab, said.
Some cases, however, have tell-tale signs of disappointment written on them. Touseef Rain, who was projected as a ‘youth leader’ from Baramulla in north Kashmir, and his brother lost while their mother scored victory in the elections. The wife of Congress leader Tariq Karra also lost the election.
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