April 2017 News

4 Elected Unopposed To LC; BJP Gets 2; PDP, NC One Each

3 April 2017
The Daily Excelsior

Jammu: The Election Commission of India (ECI) today declared elected unopposed four candidates-three from ruling PDP-BJP Alliance and one from main Opposition National Conference-to the Legislative Council for a term of six years. With this, biennial election for the Upper House will be held for two seats of Jammu division only on April 17. With the expiry of deadline for withdrawal of nomination papers at 3 pm today, Returning Officer for the Legislative Council elections, Mohammad Ramzan declared four candidates elected as MLC uncontested and handed over certificates of victory to all of them. 'All these four MLCs will have a term of six years, beginning April 19,' official sources told the Excelsior, saying two MLCs, who now will be elected through election on April 17, will also have a term of six years. As there were three candidates only for an equal number of seats in Kashmir division after the withdrawal of nomination by BJP's covering candidate Ashok Kumar Bhat, all of them have been elected unopposed to the Upper House. They included Yasir Reshi (PDP), GL Raina alias Ajay Bharti (BJP) and Aga Syed Mehmood Al Mousvi (NC). Bhat, who had filed nomination papers as covering candidate for Ajay Bharti, withdrew from the race this morning as Bharti's papers were found valid during scrutiny of nominations on March 30. On lone seat reserved for Poonch district, BJP leader Pradeep Sharma was elected unopposed to the Council as the Opposition parties didn't field candidate against him in view of his imminent victory due to majority of Ruling Alliance in the legislative Assembly, whose members comprised Electoral College for MLCs. With this, BJP has bagged two berths in the Legislative Council unopposed while PDP and National Conference got one each. Two seats of Jammu division will now go to elections on April 17 as there were three candidates in the fray for them including Abdul Qayoom Dar (PDP), Vikram Randhawa (BJP) and Balbir Singh (Congress). A keen contest will be witnessed for two seats between Randhawa and Balbir Singh. As per the PDP-BJP understanding, the first preference in the seat has to be given to PDP candidate Abdul Qayoom Dar with 30 votes to make him through to the Council. Rest of 20 votes available with PDP-BJP alliance will be polled to Randhawa. On the other, Balbir Singh has 27 votes of NC and Congress (NC 15 and Congress 12). The key on this seat will be held by four Independents and Others including MY Tarigami (CPM), Hakim Mohammad Yasin (PDF), Pawan Gupta and Engineer Rashid. All of them were yet to make any announcement on their support to any of the two parties-BJP and Congress. Meanwhile, today's election of four seats has taken PDP-BJP tally in the Legislative Council to 21 while Opposition NC-Congress tally has come down from 15 to 11. However, the present tally will be effective from April 19 when five MLCs will formally retire. One of the MLCs, Dharamvir Singh Oberoi of NC, who had to retire on April 19, has already passed away. Six MLCs completing their term on April 19 are Dharamvir Singh Oberoi (dead), Master Noor Hussain and Dr Bashir Ahmad Bhat Veeri, all from National Conference, Jehangir Mir, Deputy Chairman of the Council and Jugal Kishore Sharma, former Minister, both Congress and Yasir Reshi (PDP). Reshi was today re-elected to the Council for six years. Presently, he had term of two years only. PDP-BJP have 19 seats in the Upper House. With one of the PDP MLC (Yashir Reshi) retiring but the Alliance today winning three seats, their total number has gone up to 21. PDP has 11 MLCs and BJP 10. However, PDP is sure to win one Jammu seat on April 17. NC and Congress have 15 seats (NC 8 and Congress 7) but five of their MLCs will retire on April 19. With NC winning one seat today but their three MLCs retiring, the party's strength will come down to six. As two Congress MLCs will complete their term, the party strength will be down to five. However, it would go up if Balbir Singh emerged victorious on Jammu seat. On the other, BJP strength could also go up by one seat if Randhawa wins Jammu seat. Yasir Reshi of PDP was the lone candidate out of four elected to the Legislative Council today, who will get second term in the Upper House. He is already a member of the Council with two-year term ending on April 19. BJP's Ajay Bharti and Pradeep Sharma entered any House of the Legislature for the first time. NC's Aga Syed Mehmood Al Mousvi made his maiden entry to the Upper House though he had been an MLA from 1996-2002 and had also served as the Minister of State.