Besides the BJP and the National Conference winning big on their own, the single largest group of winning candidates in the DDC elections are the Independents. Barring five of 20 districts, Independents won the day in all other districts.
As per latest available figures, 44 of 241 seats for which results were available till late Tuesday evening, were won by independents. Twenty-eight of these are from Kashmir region, the rest in Jammu.
For the two councils of Srinagar and Poonch, Independents will cast the deciding vote. Of 2,178 candidates in 280 territorial constituencies divided equally between Kashmir and Jammu, over a thousand candidates were Independent. In a hyper-local election, they made the pitch of being “free of political baggage” in their campaign.
Although PDP had just 63 candidates contesting on party ticket, the number of Independents is higher than its tally of 26, as per last available figure.
In terms of votes, the 44 independent candidates together polled over 1.24 lakh votes, significantly higher than PDP’s 45,000. The BJP, owing to higher voter turnout in Jammu, polled more votes than any other single party – over 4.42 lakh. The National Conference polled about 2.16 lakh out of total 30 lakh ballots cast in these elections.
As of Tuesday night, only BJP and PDP have claimed support of approximately a dozen Independent candidates. As the full list of candidates is announced, likely by Wednesday morning, a clear picture will emerge on who the Independent winners choose to support. There are seven Independent winners in Srinagar and six in Poonch, four in Shopian, three each in Bandipora, Baramulla and Pulwama, among others.
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