With the counting of votes for the 280 seats after the eight-phase Jammu and Kashmir District Development Council (DDC) polls still underway, the People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) held a clear and significant lead over the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by winning over 90 seats. The BJP won 73 seats as of Tuesday night.
According to last trends that came in on 22 December, 47 seats were won by Independent candidates, while the Congress party bagged 23 seats.
The Gupkar alliance, of which the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is also a part, was the clear winner in the Valley, while the BJP maintained its dominance in the Jammu region as expected.
Abdullah, Mufti React to Gupkar Coalition Win
Omar Abdullah reacted to the Gupkar alliance win in the Valley, saying, “The BJP is the one which turned these elections as a referendum of its policy of 2019. I hope they have understood the desire of the people.”
He added, “The Gupkar alliance is an alliance that emerged out of the betrayal of the people of J&K on 5th Aug 2019. We have faced every obstacle - illegal detentions, agency threats & pressures, our candidates were locked up to stop them campaigning & from all this we are emerging victorious.”
P Chidambaran also took to Twitter to extend his compliments to the people of Kashmir, who have “firmly rejected the BJP and its misguided Kashmir policy.”
Both leaders also highlighted the alliance’s gains in the Jammu region, as Abdullah wrote, “I understand the temptation to over play the 3 seats the BJP has won in the Valley but why underplay the 35 wins/leads of the @JKPAGD in Jammu province?”
Leader of the PDP, Mehbooba Mufti said that the results “made it clear that people of J&K voted en masse for @JKPAGD thus rejecting the unconstitutional decision to abrogate Article 370.”
As per the report, 13 district councils are expected to go to the Gupkar alliance and the Congress, while six will go to the BJP and its allies.
How Have Parties Fared in Srinagar?
Out of the 14 DDC seats in Srinagar, Independents have won seven seats, Apni Party has emerged victorious in three seats, and one seat each has been won by BJP, PDP, National Conference, and Jammu & Kashmir People's Movement, Srinagar District Election Officer Shahid Choudhary said.
National Conference candidate Kaiser Mir and Independent Shabir Aad Reshi have reportedly won from Khimber and Hawan constituencies in Srinagar, respectively, reported news agency ANI.
Meanwhile, Azaz Hussain, the BJP candidate from Balhama, Srinagar, has also won from his seat. "We fought against the PAGD candidate and BJP emerged victorious at this seat (Balhama in Srinagar) today. I congratulate the people of Jammu and Kashmir, and the security forces," Hussain was quoted as saying by ANI.
Jailed PDP youth president Waheed Para, who is in NIA custody for alleged links with militants, won the DDC election from Pulwama district, reported PTI.
Jammu Deputy Commissioner Sushma Chauhan has said that restrictive and prohibitory measures have been put in place, with no victory processions by political parties and independent candidates to be allowed without permission.
Fate of 2,178 Candidates on the Line
The State Election Commissioner (SEC), KK Sharma, had said that Tuesday's counting would decide the fate of 2,178 candidates for the DDC seats, IANS reported.
He also said that the overall voting percentage in all the eight phases across the Union Territory was 51.42 percent and over 30 lakh votes would be counted at counting centres on Tuesday.
According to ANI, Sharma had also said that counting staff would be deployed after “randomisation”.
Speaking to ANI, BJP’s in-charge of the DDC polls Anurag Thakur had said, “Even though people were threatened, they came out in huge numbers to cast their vote. This is the victory of democracy. PM Modi's dream that at the grassroots level, panchayat, BDC and DDC elections should be held in J&K, has been fulfilled.”
He added that he was confident of the BJP’s performance.
The first phase of voting took place on 28 November and ended with phase eight on 19 December. This is the first electoral exercise in the region after J&K’s special status under Article 370 was withdrawn in August last year and the state was divided into two Union territories.
(With inputs from ANI, PTI, IANS and NDTV.)