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BJP sails through Jammu division, sweep halted in some dists

The election results and trends available so far show that voters by and large rejected the extreme right-wing politics in Jammu division.

Written by Arun Sharma | Jammu | Updated: December 23, 2020 6:40:44 am
BJP leaders Syed Shahnawaz Hussain and Vibodh Gupta at Bijbehara in Anantnag on Thursday. (Express photo by Shuaib Masoodi)

The BJP emerged victorious in District Development Councils (DDC) in Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Udhampur districts, besides Doda district of Chenab Valley region, as the counting progressed on Tuesday.

The saffron party emerged as the single largest party by reaching the halfway mark by winning seven of 14 DDC constituencies in Reasi district as well, but its winning spree in Jammu division of the Union Territory was halted by the National Conference and Independents in Poonch and Rajouri districts of Pir Panjal region, besides Ramban and Kishtwar districts of Chenab Valley adjoining Kashmir.

The BJP’s former J&K minister Sham Lal Choudhary and ex-legislator Gharu Ram were among the winners in Jammu district, while Juhi Manhas, wife of the party’s former MLA from Ramnagar R S Pathani, won from Khoon constituency of Udhampur district.

Former minister and Congress leader Mohammad Shabir Khan was set to get elected from Manjakote, while former PDP minister Zulfqar Choudhary’s wife Zubeda Begum was trailing against an Independent candidate in Rajouri’s Budhal Old-A segment. In Reasi district, former minister Ajaz Khan got elected as JKAP nominee from Thruoo, while his brother, former MLA Mumtaz Khan, also a JKAP candidate, lost in Mahore. Jagjivan Lal, also a former minister of the erstwhile state of J&K, got elected in Reasi as an NC nominee.

Of 117 results declared in Jammu division until late Tuesday night, the BJP won 66 seats, followed by NC (18), Independents (15), Congress (14), JKAP and JKNPP (two each), besides PDP and BSP (one each).

The NC could win only one seat each in Jammu and Samba districts, JKNPP two in Udhampur and BSP (one) in Kathua. The Congress could not open its account in Jammu, Samba, Kathua and Udhampur districts.

In what may be seen as rejection of extreme right-wing political organisations, Charanjit Singh, former MLA and father-in-law of IkkJutt Jammu chairman Ankur Sharma, and Kanta Andotra, wife of former minister and Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan Party founder Choudhary Lal Singh, who had fallen apart with the BJP over the issue of CBI inquiry into the gangrape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua district, lost the elections in the district.

In Rajouri district, the saffron party was leading in three seats but appeared set to lose Nowshera to PDP – Nowshera is the home constituency of J&K BJP president Ravinder Raina, who got elected to the erstwhile J&K Legislative Assembly from there in 2014.

Although the BJP managed to get the majority in Doda DDC, its former MLA and ex-minister Shakti Raj Parihar lost from both Marmat and Gundna segments.

In Jammu also, while the saffron party won nine seats and was leading in three others, but lost to an Independent in its bastion, Marh.

As per trends available in remaining 23 constituencies, the BJP’s tally is likely to increase by over half a dozen more seats. The party had fielded candidates in 114 constituencies in Jammu division,

Significantly, the saffron party failed to get a majority in Ramban and Kishtwar DDCs despite getting nearly a dozen Union ministers to campaign across Jammu division. Political observers believe the NC and PDP virtually gave the BJP a walkover at various places, especially in Pir Panjal and Chenab Valley regions, as none of its senior leaders came to campaign for party candidates.

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