Lobbying for 8 seats intensifies

Coalition,Opposition Count Numbers; Open Ballot System Expected

LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL POLLS

ARVIND SHARMA

Jammu, Feb 7: With the announcement of elections for eight seats to the Legislative Council falling vacant on March 16, hectic lobbying has begun among the ruling coalition and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party to muster the number and secure their berth in the Upper House.
Insiders in political circles of the state said the coalition alliance, National Conference and Congress, and opposition Peoples Democratic Party were sure on securing their seats, especially when the state this year is expected to go ahead with open ballot system for the elections to the Upper House.
All the eight LC seats are to be filled up through polls for which votes are to be cast by the designated Electoral College. “We will be having an open ballot system this year for which the law was made last year,” Muhammad Ramzan, secretary Legislative Assembly, who has been designated as the Returning Officer of the elections, said.
LC polls assume significance as the outgoing members include some-high profile politicians including the former Minister for Medical Education RS Chib and former Political Advisor to Chief Minister Devender Singh Rana.
Besides Rana and Chib, the term of MY Taing of NC, Muhammad Amin Bhat,Naresh Gupta and Ali Muhammad Bhat of Congress and Murtaza Khan and Nizam-Din-Khatana of PDP is also expiring.
“The coalition is certain to have same arrangement, 2 NC and 3 Congress, for the polls but the candidature is still uncertain,” sources said.
Three separate notifications for the eight seats–one for the four seats of Kashmir, second for three seats of Jammu and third for lone reserved seat of Doda, are expected to be issued very soon.
Sources in the political circles opine that given the Electoral College of 89 in the state assembly, 4 members of the BJP and 3 from the NPP hold the key to a certain extent. Given the permutations and combinations, coalition will win 6 seats while the PDP will retain its two seats.
However, going by the numbers which the ruling coalition and the PDP have, observers said it is almost certain that the ruling coalition will win three seats from Kashmir while PDP will occupy one seat.
“Going by the numbers, in Kashmir there have to be at least five candidates for contest and given the Electoral College of 89 each candidate requires 18 votes. Now, PDP having 21 members therefore in any case will win one seat while remaining three will be captured by the ruling NC-Congress coalition,” a political observer claimed.
He said the scenario was almost same in Jammu. “For one seat reserved for Doda a candidate requires at least 45 votes out of the total 89 votes. Therefore, with PDP having 21 members, the coalition which has the required number is all set to clinch this seat. For the remaining three seats in Jammu, there also needs at least four candidates in fray as in case of three candidates there will be no contest,” he said.
“Therefore, coalition needs at least 22 votes for each of its three candidates to ensure their victory -one more than the PDP which has 21 members,” he added.
In this case, observers believe that if BJP having four members decides to abstain, then total number of votes remains 85. “PDP will tie one seat with coalition which the coalition will not like to happen in any case,” they said.
Observers also said that after the law for open ballot was made last year following cross-voting episode, it is very unlikely that NPP (3) and the suspended BJP lot (7) will vote. Therefore, excluding these two groups the number comes 14 including BJP (4). In this scenario, PDP will surely win one seat from Jammu, observers opined further.

Lastupdate on : Thu, 7 Feb 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 7 Feb 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 8 Feb 2013 00:00:00 IST




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