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BJP wins Jammu Municipal Corporation; Independents, Congress do better in Valley

As a hassle-free counting of votes in the Jammu and Kashmir civic elections ended on Saturday, the BJP emerged winner in the Jammu Municipal Corporation, while majority of seats in Srinagar Municipal Corporation went to Independent candidates.

Thanks to the presence of security forces in large numbers around the counting centres, the counting process ended peacefully in both Jammu province and the Valley.

Due to very poor turnout of voters in the Valley and the boycott by regional National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), an overwhelming majority of those who won these elections were new and unknown faces.

It was only during the result declaration announcements by the poll authorities that the people came to know who the contestants were.

Due to security reasons the poll authorities had not made the names of the contestants in the Valley public.

In Srinagar Municipal Corporation, the Independents won 49, Congress 12 and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) four wards.

After completion of the counting process, the BJP emerged as the largest party in the Jammu province and the Congress doing marginally better in the Kashmir valley.

In the Jammu region that includes the districts of Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Reasi, Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban, Udhampur, Poonch and Rajouri, the BJP candidates won 212 wards, the Congress 110, National Panthers Party 13 and the Independents 185.

In the Valley, with Srinagar, Baramulla, Kupwara, Badgam, Anantnag, Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam, Bandipora and Ganderbal as its districts, the Congress won 79 wards, the BJP 75, Independents 71, Peoples Conference two and others two.

In Leh, the Congress swept the polls winning all the 13 seats, while in Kargil, the Congress won six and Independents seven wards.

Independents supported by former Minister and Peoples Conference Chief Sajad Gani Lone won all the 13 seats in the Handwara Municipal Committee polls in Kupwara.

In Anantnag, Kokernag and Dooru municipal committees, the Congress candidates won most of the wards.

In Srinagar Municipal Corporation polls, among the prominent winners was Junaid Azim Mattu, who left the National Conference (NC) after he disagreed with the poll boycott decision by the NC.

Prominent among the losers was Asifa Tariq Karra, the wife of senior Congress leader Tariq Hameed Karra.

The municipal elections, taking place in the state after 13 years, were held in four phases, covering 79 municipal bodies with an electorate of about 17 lakh electors.

A total of 3,372 nominations were filed for 1,145 wards and the voting was held on October 8, 10, 13 and 16.

The Valley witnessed very low voter turnout while Jammu and Ladakh recorded heavy polling.

Of the 598 wards in Kashmir, 231 candidates were elected unopposed, while there were no candidates in 181 wards.

The overall voting percentage for these polls in the state was 35.1 per cent.

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