Mohit Kandhari n
Taking advantage of the absence of mainstream political parties — National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party — from the poll arena, the BJP on Saturday reaped a “bumper crop” by winning 97 wards for the first time in urban local bodies election at the grass roots level in Kashmir valley. Twenty-two BJP candidates won in a straight contest, while 75 candidates won unopposed in the absence of opposition. Out of 132 wards spread across four terrorism-infested South Kashmir districts, BJP candidates emerged victorious in 53 wards.
On the other hand, the Congress won 153 wards across Kashmir Valley, 74 in a straight contest and 79 candidates won unopposed, 23 from Budgam and 34 from Anantnag.
In Jammu, the BJP won Jammu Municipal corporation (JMC) with a thumping majority. The BJP won 43 seats in a 75-member House leaving behind its arch rival Congress at a paltry tally of 14 seats. A total number of 18 seats were won by the rebel candidates, mostly from the BJP too.
The BJP, however, failed to open its account in the Ladakh region. Here, the Congress won all the 13 seats in the Ladakh Municipal Committee and five seats in Kargil. Six seats in the region were captured by the Independent candidates. The BJP, however, failed to replicate its performance in the hilly districts of Doda, Ramban and Kishtwar. The party won 14 out of 70 wards in these three districts. In Udhampur, the party won 14 out of 41 wards.
In the overall tally the BJP won 212 wards out of 520 wards across Jammu province while the Congress won 110 seats. Hundred eighty-five seats were won by the Independent candidates while 13 seats went to the National Panthers Party (NPP).
While celebrating the victory of the party here at the State BJP headquarters, State BJP chief Ravinder Raina told reporters, "People of Jammu & Kashmir voted for BJP's landslide victory at the grassroots level in these polls".
He also credited the BJP's grand victory to the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party chief Amit Shah and thousands of party workers on ground zero.
He said under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi BJP's flag will fly high from Lal Chowk to Lal Qila in New Delhi.
Reacting to the BJP's performance in the municipal polls, BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav tweeted, "The BJP recaptured Jammu corporation winning 43/75 seats. Also secured majority in 14 Municipal bodies in Jammu region. Congrats to State president Ravinder Raina and team Jammu BJP".
In another tweet, he listed the BJP performance in Kashmir Valley. "The BJP won in 97 wards in Kashmir Valley for the first time. Secured maximum wins in Baramulla (25), Anantnag (29) and Shopian (12)", Madhav tweeted.
The Congress won a thumping majority in Dooru municipal committee, the stronghold of JKPCC chief GA Mir. The party bagged 14 of the 17 seats, while the BJP managed to win two seats. One seat remained vacant.
The Congress also won in Kokernag municipal committee, bagging six of the eight seats.
In Chrar-e-Sharief, the Congress won 11 of the 13 seats, while the remaining two seats were vacant. In Chadoora too, the party won six of the eight seats, while there was no candidate for the other five seats. 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. Among the prominent winners was Junaid Azim Mattu who left the regional 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.
In Jammu province, the BJP won 34 wards out of 80 in Kathua district, 23 wards out of 63 in Rajouri, 13 out of 26 in Reasi, 49 wards out of 79 across seven municipal committees of Akhnoor, RSPura, Bisnah, Jourian, Arnia, Khour, Gho Manasa in Jammu district. The party workers celebrated party victory by bursting crackers and distributing sweets in the party office.