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NC-Congress coalition sweeps Upper House polls in J&K

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
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Wins all four seats reserved for panchayat representatives

Congress candidate Ghulam Nabi Monga (left) and National Conference provincial president Ali Mohammad Dar (right) flash victory sign after their victory in Srinagar on Thursday.– PHOTO: NIssar Ahmad
Congress candidate Ghulam Nabi Monga (left) and National Conference provincial president Ali Mohammad Dar (right) flash victory sign after their victory in Srinagar on Thursday.– PHOTO: NIssar Ahmad

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 in the afternoon today.

Divisional Commissioners and Returning Officers, Pradeep Gupta (Jammu) and Dr Asgar Samoon (Kashmir) declared NC’s Dr Shehnaz 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, Shyam Lal Bhagat and Ghulam Nabi Monga, as the winners. PDP has been a runner-up, understandably in Kashmir but surprisingly for BJP and National Panthers Party in Jammu.

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, she secured 9,070 and Mr. Gupta 2,153. Mr. Shyam Lal defeated his nearest rival Gurmeet Singh of PDP by a margin of 7,034 votes. Out of 14,874 votes, he got 9,123 votes and Mr. Singh 2,089.

In Kashmir province, NC’s Ali Muhammad Dar defeated his nearest rival Peer Muhammad Hussain of PDP by a margin of 2,675 votes. Of the 16,155 votes polled, Mr. Dar secured 8,586 and Mr. Hussain got 5,911. Ghulam Nabi Monga of Congress defeated his nearest rival, Yasir Reshi of PDP, by a margin of 2,565 votes. He secured 8,659 votes against Mr. Reshi’s got 6,094.

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 first time in the last 31 years.

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, the NC and the Congress contested on two each seats while former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s PDP had fielded its candidates on all the four seats. .

Separatist-turned-mainstream politician Sajjad Lone and independent MLA Engineer Rasheed had also fielded their candidates in the two seats in the Valley but they were trounced badly as none of them secured even 500 votes. In the Peoples Conference bastion of Kupwara district, the PDP has stood second with Mr Rasheed’s candidates at the third position.

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

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