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Jammu & Kashmir

BJP suffers setback in J&K BDC polls

October 26, 2019 04:31 AM


BJP suffers setback in J&K BDC polls
Mir Ehsan

Srinagar : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) suffered reverses in the first Block Development Council (BDC) elections held in the history of Jammu and Kashmir, ahead of the state’s bifurcation into two Union territories on October 31.

The BJP couldn’t win even half the seats up for grabs in the polls, the first held in J&K since the Centre on August 5 scrapped Article 370, which conferred special status on the state, and decided to create two Union territories.

The two major political entities in Kashmir—the National Conference and the People’s Democratic Party—stayed away from the polls to protest the detention of their leaders.

Despite that, the BJP won only 81 BDC seats while independent candidates won 217. The Congress won one seat and the Panthers Party eight seats. As many as 216 people had contested the BDC polls on the BJP’s symbol.

Around 98 .3% of 27,281 panches and sarpanches voted in the polls on Thursday. Srinagar district recorded 100% polling. More than 216 people had contested BDC on BJP ticket.

BJP bagged 18 seats in Kashmir, 52 in Jammu and 11 in Ladakh. The BJP leadership had been eyeing a major portion of BDC seats from all three regions where its leadership, including some national leaders, waged a vigorous campaign, telling the people that the nullification of Article 370 would lead to greater integration witth the national mainstream. Independent candidates supported by leaders of various political parties played spoilsport.

Even in Ladakh, which was declared a Union territory by the BJP-led central government in a decision that met a longstanding local demand, the BJP could win only 11 seats to the 19 won by independent candidates.

“This result is an eye opener for the BJP. Despite tall claims of the BJP leaders that people in all the regions are happy with removal of special status of the state, the people have shown them the mirror,’’ J&K State Congress president, Ghulam Ahmad Mir said.

“Had opposition parties participated in the polls, the BJP couldn’t have won more than 40 seats,’’ Mir said.

BJP general secretary Ashok Koul said many party men had contested the elections as independents .

“If we add the independents to our tally then it’s around 140 seats. Only 81 candidates won on the BJP ticket. We had taken a decision that BJP candidates will contest as independents at many places in the Valley. Twenty independent candidates who won are our workers and 26 other who people who won were helped by us,’’ Koul claimed.

He said the party even won four seats from Muslim-majority Kargil. “We are satisfied with these results.’’

The BDC polls were held first time in the history of the state, which on October 31 will be bifurcated into two Union Territories.

For 307 posts of BDC chairperson, 1,012 candidates were in the fray in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. The polling was held under tight security; the electoral college was made up of the panches and sarpanches who were elected last year.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, meanwhile, credited the decision to scrap the special status of Jammu and Kashmir for the high voter turnout in the BDC polls.

“Thanks to the decisions of the Indian Parliament, young and dynamic representatives will shape the destiny of the people of all regions of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said in a tweet.

“I once again congratulate MPs across party lines for the historic decisions on Jammu and Kashmir. 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 prime minister wrote in another tweet

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