The ruling National Conference-Congress coalition in Jammu and Kashmir has won all the four seats, reserved for panchayat representatives in the Legislative Council. Results were declared by the two Returning Officers for all four seats, two each in Kashmir and Jammu, at the end of counting at Srinagar and Jammu on Thursday afternoon.

Divisional Commissioners and Returning Officers, Pradeep Gupta (Jammu) and Dr Asgar Samoon (Kashmir) declared NC’s Dr Shahnaz Ganai and Ali Mohammad Dar as the winners from the two seats in Jammu and Kashmir respectively. They also declared Congress candidates from Jammu and Kashmir, namely Shyam Lal Bhagat and Ghulam Nabi Monga, as the winners.

Dr Shahnaz Ganai defeated her nearest rival Ved Prakash Gupta of PDP by a margin of 6,917 votes. Of the 14,812 votes polled for the J-2 constituency, Dr Shahnaz secured 9,070 votes, while Mr Gupta secured 2153 votes.

Mr Shyam Lal defeated his nearest rival Gurmeet Singh of PDP by a margin of 7,034 votes. Of the 14,874 votes polled, Mr Shyam Lal secured 9,123 votes, while Mr. Gurmeet secured 2,089 votes.

In Kashmir province, NC’s Ali Muhammad Dar defeated his nearest rival Peer Muhammad Hussain of Peoples Democratic Party by a margin of 2,675 votes. Of the 16,155 votes polled for the constituency, Mr Dar secured 8,586 votes, while Mr. Hussain got 5,911 votes.

Ghulam Nabi Monga of Congress defeated his nearest rival Yasir Reshi of PDP by a margin of 2,565 votes. Mr Monga secured 8,659 votes, while Mr Reshi got 6,094 votes.

Polling had taken place on December 3. With declaration of the results today, all the four seats reserved for Panchayat representative in the 36-member JKLC have been filled up.

In all 44 candidates had filed their nomination papers. After withdrawal of nominations and scrutiny of documents, there were 37 contestants in the fray--21 for the two seats of Jammu division and 16 for equal number of seats in Kashmir.

In an equal seat shearing, NC and Congress contested on two each seats while as the principal opposition party in Kashmir, Peoples Democratic Party of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, had fielded its candidates on all the four seats. BJP, which happens to be the principal opposition party in Jammu, but has suffered a vertical split, resulting in expulsion of seven of its MLAs, following elections for four seats of JKLC last year, had fielded its candidates in three seats, two in Jammu and one in Valley.

BSP had its candidates from thee seats and the regional National Panthers Party from all the four.

Separatist-turned-mainstream politician, Sajjad Lone, and independent MLA, Engineer Rasheed, had also fielded their candidates in the two seats in Valley but they have been trounced badly as none of them has secured 500 votes.

In all, 33,540 Panchs and Sarpanchs had right to vote. However, only 32,000 of them voted in the polling on December 3 that registered the highest ever turnout of 96% despite cold weather in valley and Lladakh coupled by the separatists’ appeals of boycott and the militants’ threats.

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