All But One Of 34 BJP Candidates Lose Deposits In Kashmir Valley

24 December 2014

Srinagar: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which made a determined bid to score its first poll victory in the Kashmir Valley, not only drew a blank but suffered the ignominy of seeing all but one of its 34 candidates lose their security deposits. The BJP had fielded candidates in 34 of the 46 constituencies in the Valley in the keenly fought Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir results of which were declared today. Moti Koul, BJP's candidate from Habba Kadal in Srinagar district, was the only one who managed to save his deposit by polling 2,596 votes in the constituency which recorded only 21 per cent voter turnout. Koul was also under the threat of losing his security deposit till the migrant votes were counted, which propelled him from seventh position to the runners-up. He lost to Shamima Firdous of National Conference(NC) by a margin of over 2,000 votes. The remaining BJP candidates were way behind in most of the constituencies in the Valley, Election Commission data showed. A candidate loses his deposit on polling less than one-sixth of the total valid votes cast in a constituency. BJP's Shopian candidate Javed Ahmad Qadri managed to get over 3,300 votes but lost the security deposit due to the higher voter turnout in the constituency in south Kashmir. Masood-ul-Hassan, fighting from Hazratbal constituency, polled 2,635 votes but he too could not save his deposit. Prominent BJP nominees who got over 1,000 votes were Hina Shafi Bhat from Amira Kadal(1,359), Zubair Ahmad Wani from Batmaloo (1,304) and Dharakshan Indrabi from Sonawar (1,100) in terms of number of votes polled. Hina, who had sparked a controversy by allegedly slapping an election officer during polling, got 1,359 votes out of the total of more than 20,000 votes polled. Daughter of former NC MP and MLA Mohammad Shafi Bhat, Hina had denied the assault charge. The doctor-turned-politician was banking upon her father's clout and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's only election rally in Kashmir to sail through but came up against PDP's Altaf Bukhari, the eventual winner, and National Conference's incumbent MLA Nasir Aslam Wani. Neelam Gash in Zadibal segment got just 360 votes. Darakshan Andrabi, who was contesting against Chief MInister Omar Abdullah from Sonawar constituency in Srinagar, managed to get 1,100 votes but the story was no different for her too as PDP's Mohammad Ashraf Mir ran away with the seat. Overall, the votes garnered by BJP candidates in Srinagar city seemed to be somewhat respectable in view of party's first serious foray into the Valley. Election date showed that over 75 per cent of the 420 candidates in the fray for 46 assembly seats in Kashmir Valley lost their security deposit. A total of 328 candidates lost their deposit and they included Additional General Secretary of National Conference, and Omar's uncle Sheikh Mustafa Kamal. While all the constituencies in the Valley witnessed multi-cornered contests, in most of the seats it was a direct fight between the eventual winner and the runner up. Several Congress, National Conference and PDP candidates also lost their security deposits.