Election results bring little cheer in Kashmir

Election results bring little cheer in Kashmir
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Srinagar: BJP candidate wins with 8 votes of 9 polled, Cong candidate wins with 41; Tariq Karra’s wife loses

Srinagar: News of victory was met with an unusual stoic reception by supporters of winning candidates in Kashmir on Saturday. While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged as the biggest winner in Jammu province, the Congress performed well in Kashmir and so did Independent candidates. However, the winners in Kashmir reacted cautiously to the results of an election that was widely boycotted by Kashmiris.
President of J&K Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) GA Mir said that people had rejected the BJP-RSS combine as was evident by the poll outcome. “BJP was hell bent on grabbing power in valley through Urban Local Body (ULB) elections, but the people have defeated its designs,” Mir said.
Some candidates expressed apprehension about their security rather than elation. “Poll officials were not serious about our security. I hope they take strict measures now,” Naziya Yousuf, Congress’s winning candidate from Humhama, told reporters immediately after she was declared the winner.
Naziya said she was eager to contest the election and motivate people for voting, but she faced a tough situation as security forces restricted her movement and confined her to hotel rooms during the election.
“We were not allowed to meet people in our area. Is this they call security? I appeal to the Governor’s administration to look into this, so that we start serving people in a better way,” she said.
Naziya got 41 votes, defeating her closest competitor, Independent candidate Neelofar Badyari, who got 11 votes. Shazia Khan of BJP got 7 votes.
The victorious BJP candidate from Srinagar’s Baghi Mehtab ward, Bashir Ahmad Mir, said the parties which boycotted the civic polls were at a “big loss”.
“It was a chance for all of us to serve people. But the parties who boycotted the elections lost the chance,” he said.
Mir won the seat by securing 8 votes of the 9 polled in the ward.
As per officials, the BJP clinched civic polls in four districts of south Kashmir, winning 53 of the 132 wards. In this militancy hot-bed, many BJP candidates were declared winners unopposed.
The counting venues of the votes remained open following the announcement of results but security men were instructed to stop any gathering in and around the venues due to apprehension of law and order problems.
Due to security reasons, the names of the candidates were made public by the election office only on the declaration of results.
The main counting centre for Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) was set up at SKICC, where no vehicle was allowed to enter. There was also huge deployment of government forces outside.
In Jammu region’s Samba, Kathua, Reasi, Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban, Udhampur, Poonch and Rajouri districts, BJP candidates won 212 wards, the Congress 110, the National Panthers Party 13, and Independents 185.
In the Valley, the Congress won 79 wards, the BJP 75, Independents 71, Peoples Conference 2, and others 2.
In Leh, the Congress swept the polls, winning all the 13 seats. In Kargil, the Congress won 6 and Independents won 7 wards.
Independents supported by former minister and Peoples Conference chief Sajjad Gani Lone won all 13 seats in the Handwara municipal committee polls in Kupwara district.
Junaid Azim Mattu, who was contesting in four wards of Srinagar as Independent, clinched three seats including Rawalpora, Solina and Lokut Dal.
Prominent among the losers was Asifa Tariq Karra, wife of senior Congress leader Tariq Hameed Karra who was Member of Parliament from Srinagar on a PDP ticket, and BJP’s prominent women face, Neelam Bashir Gaash.