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BJP leading in Jammu, NC in Kashmir as local poll results start coming in

While Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is leading in Jammu, its arch rival National Conference (NC) appears to be bagging the maximum number of seats in Kashmir as counting of votes in the first District Development Council (DDC) elections got underway on Tuesday morning.

The eight-phased polling in 280 seats had concluded on December 19 across Jammu and Kashmir. Until late in the afternoon, results and trends of 235 seats were available from the counting centres set up at the 20 district headquarters—10 each in Kashmir and Jammu. According to official sources, the BJP was leading on 46 seats after winning four. Interestingly, three of the four seats it won are from the Valley. The first result was declared from Khonmoh, in Srinagar outskirts, in favour of Aijaz Ahmad, a senior functionary of the BJP’s youth wing in the country. Later, the party also bagged the border seat of Teetwal, on the LoC, in Kupwara district.

Farooq Abdullah’s NC was leading on 44 seats after winning 5, all in the valley. Mehbooba Mufti’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was leading on 28 seats after winning 8 segments. The Congress party was leading from 19 seats after winning one seat.

The Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD)—an alliance of five Kashmir-based regional parties and the CPI (M)—is contesting the DDC elections as a conglomerate against the BJP. It is seeking vote for its joint demand for restoration of Statehood and Articles 370 and 35-A. The NC, the PDP and Sajad Lone’s Peoples Conference (PC) are its key constituents. The PC was leading from 3 seats even as it was not off the mark till 4.00 pm. In all, PAGD was leading from 79 seats evenas it had won 15 seats.

Of the prominent contestants, Taj Mohiuddin of the Congress party was leading from Uri and the PDP rebel Safeena Baig, the wife of the former deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Baig who is contesting as an independent candidate, was leading from Wagora Baramulla. PDP’s detained youth president Waheed-ur-Rehman and another youth leader Dr Gurbaksh Singh were declared winners from Pulwama and Tral respectively. BJP’s spokesperson Altaf Thakur was defeated in Dadsara Tral.

Senior NC leader Ali Mohammad Sagar’s son and former Mayor of Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Salman Sagar, was contesting on the vacant wards of Soura and Sarai Bala in the parallel municipal election in the summer capital. He was declared returned from both the wards. However, the NC as well as the PDP, which have retained monopoly in several Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in Srinagar district, received a setback in the DDC elections.

Of the 14 seats, seven were bagged by independent candidates in Srinagar district. The NC, the PDP and J&K Peoples Movement (another constituent of PAGD) won one each seat. BJP also got one seat, while Apni Party, considered to be BJP-friendly, got four seats. In all, Apni Party of Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari was leading on 8 seats after winning 4..