NC-Cong sweep LC polls

United, Coalition Partners Trounce Opposition; Win Two Seats Each; Dar, Shehnaz, Bhagat, Monga Winners

MUDDASIR ALI/ARVIND SHARMA

Srinagar/Jammu, Dec 6: The ruling coalition of National Conference and Congress Thursday swept the Legislative Council polls held for four seats under Panchayat quota, winning two seats each.
While Ali Muhammad Dar of National Conference won the K1 seat in Kashmir and the party candidate Dr Shahnaz Ganai bagged the J2 seat in Jammu, Ghulam Nabi Monga and Shyam Lal Bhagat of Congress emerged winners on K2 seat in Kashmir and J1 seat in Jammu respectively.
The elections were held on December 3 and counting of votes began this morning. The results were out by afternoon. For J-1 constituency, Bhagat defeated his nearest rival of Peoples Democratic Party, Gurmeet Singh, by a margin of 7034 votes. Of the 14874 votes polled, Bhagat got 9123 votes while Gurmeet bagged 2089 votes. The NPP candidate, Anita Thakur, surprisingly secured third spot, bagging 1232 votes, ahead of the BJP candidate Col. Uttam Singh.
For the J-2 seat, NC’s Dr Shahnaz defeated her nearest rival PDP’s Ved Prakash Gupta by a margin of 6917 votes. Of the 14812 votes polled, Dr Shahnaz polled 9070 votes while Gupta secured 2153 votes. The BJP candidate Rachpal Verma secured 1621 votes for third spot.
In Kashmir division, NC’s Dar defeated his nearest rival Peer Muhammad Hussain of PDP by a margin of 2675 votes for K1 seat. Of 16155 votes polled, Dar secured 8586 votes while Hussain managed 5911 votes. Independent candidate Nazir Ahmad Paddar secured 383 votes for the third spot.
On K2 seat, Congress’ Monga defeated PDP candidate Yasir Reshi by a margin 2562 votes. Of 16307 votes, Monga polled 8659 votes while PDP secured 6094 votes. Independent candidate Khurshid Ahmad bagged 443 votes on third number. Senior National Conference leader Ali Muhammad Sagar said the LC poll results were victory for coalition partners.
“This is victory of the policy adopted by the government to strengthen the grassroots governance institutions and the results are befitting reply to those raising fingers on credibility of the government,” Sagar said.
Senior Congress leader Taj Mohi-ud-Din said the results have “proven that coalition government is working on the ground for betterment of its people.” In the 36-member Upper House, the strength of National Conference has now gone up to 15 members with win on two seats while Congress has increased its tally to 14 members in the Council.
The PDP has four members and NPP one member in the LC.
The two seats reserved for Urban Local Bodies are presently vacant following end of term of Congress’ Arvinder Singh Micky and election of PDP’s Nizam-ud-Din Bhat to the Lower House after he successfully contested 2008 Assembly elections.
In the polls to the four LC seats, the coalition candidates together polled 35438 votes in both the divisions.
The Electoral College for the polls consisted of 33,540 Sarpanchs and Panchs and each Panchayat member had to cast a vote each on two seats in their respective divisions. While Jammu division has 15628 Panchs and Sarpanchs, their number is 17912 in Kashmir.
The opposition, including the PDP and the NPP, had fielded candidates for all four seats. The BJP contested three seats - two in Jammu and one in Kashmir.
However the PDP independently performed better in both the divisions. While the party secured 4242 votes on two seats in Jammu and secured second spot, it bagged 12005 votes in Kashmir division.
PDP’s chief Spokesman Nayeem Akthar said the results have thrown up some positives and some areas of concern for the party.
“PDP has emerged as a credible stakeholder on political scenario of the state and it has acquired pan J&K status. This is the message for NC that days of its walkover are gone,” Akthar said.
He said the concern was that PDP has not been so far able to reach out to Ladakh and it has perhaps not been able to hold on to certain constituencies in south Kashmir. The south Kashmir has otherwise emerged as the bastion of the PDP over the years.
The polls, which were held after 1974, saw Panchayat members voting in large numbers. Around 93 percent polling was recorded in the state.
The counting for votes began this morning at SKICC in Srinagar and Government Polytechnic College in Jammu.
“It is people’s referendum against PDP. They (PDP) have lost even in the areas represented by their legislators,” NC candidate Dar said outside the counting hall in Srinagar after the results were out.
Congress candidate Monga who was also present at the counting hall said the results show that coalition partners are working in coordination at grassroots level.
“It is a victory of democracy and people who reposed their faith on us,” he said.
The candidates, lower rung leaders of different parties and followers of all three major parties were inside and outside the Centre from early morning.
Heavy security arrangements were put in place within and outside SKICC.
In Jammu, the trends were indicating the victory for coalition candidates from first round who had established convincing lead over their rivals.
Both the coalition candidates in their respective constituencies scored more votes than the combined votes polled by all the opposition candidates.
Following the election results, the BJP and NPP activists came out of the counting halls in Jammu raising slogans against the government for “rigging” the elections. They were supported by PDP candidate Ved Prakash in the sloganeering.
However, an elated Shahnaz Ganai thanked Panchayat members for reposing their faith in her and the party. She said she would fight for the rights of Panchayat representatives both inside and outside the House.
Congress’ Sham Lal too thanked the Panchayat members for their support.

OPPOSITION PROTESTS, CRIES RIGGING
Activists of Peoples Democratic Party, Bhartiya Janta Party and National Panthers Party staged noisy protest demonstration here on Thursday, accusing the coalition government of “rigging” Legislative Council polls.
When almost 80 percent of counting had been completed, the Panthers Party activists came out of the counting halls, shouting slogans against the government for “rigging the polls.”
General Secretary of Panthers Party Rajesh Padgotra alleged that the entire election was rigged and the coalition manipulated the process to ensure victory of its candidates. “Seals of voting machines No 57 and 58 were tampered while there were many other machines which had no seals at all,” he alleged, adding that despite raising objections the Election Department has not taken cognizance of the matter.
“National Conference is known for rigging elections. In 1989 it was NC which rigged the election and arrested the winning candidates of Muslim Conference, thus plunging the state into bloodshed and chaos,” he said. “The National Conference-Congress has again rigged the elections and it will also lead to same type of situation in Jammu region.”
He demanded cancellation of elections.
The Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) activists also joined the chorus and alleged that elections were rigged. “It only takes two hours to reach from Kathua to Jammu but the voting machines of district Kathua reached Jammu only yesterday at 8:30 PM,” Bansi Lal Bharti of BJP claimed adding, “Voting machines of other districts also reached Jammu very late and it was only done to ensure tampering.”
People Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Ved Parkash Gupta, along with his supporters, also staged protest demonstration and demanded intervention of the Election Commission of India. They were shouting slogans like “Vote Chor Sarkar Hai Hai”, “Takhat Badal Do Taj Badal Do, Choron Ki Sarkar Badal Do.”
Criticizing the coalition, Gupta alleged that it was a “daylight robbery of votes” by government. “In our 15 days campaign, we got strong support of Panchayat representatives and they showed their anger but the elections were rigged,” he alleged.
He said that the party would lodge a written complaint with Election Commission of India regarding rigging of elections.

Lastupdate on : Thu, 6 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 6 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 7 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST




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