April 2017 News

BJP Wins Jammu Seat After PDP MLA's Cross-voting

17 April 2017
The Indian Express
Arun Sharma

Jammu: The BJP won three of six Legislative Council vacancies in Jammu and Kashmir that went to the polls on Monday following cross-voting by a legislator of the PDP, its coalition partner. With BJP candidates from Kashmir and Poonch reserved constituency already elected unopposed, the third party candidate, Vikram Randhawa from Jammu, defeated PDP's Abdul Qayoom Dar in a draw of lots after each candidate finished with 29 votes. The PDP and opposition National Conference (NC) won one seat each from the Valley, and Congress's Balbir Singh was declared elected from Jammu after polling 31 votes, including votes of CPI(M)'s M Y Tarigami and Independents MLAs Hakim Mohammad Yasin, Engineer Abdul Rashid and Pawan Gupta. While PDP spokesperson Ved Mahajan said the party's Zanskar MLA, Syed Mohammad Baqir Rizvi, voted for Randhawa by mistake, Rizvi said he voted deliberately to express resentment over the leadership's failure to include him in the council of ministers. 'They made a promise and did not fulfill it,' he claimed. The BJP and PDP had decided to field three candidates each for the six vacancies. As part of understanding, they fielded Yasir Reshi and G L Raina (alias Ajay Bharti) for two vacancies from the Valley, leaving the third seat for NC's Aga Syed Mehmood Al Mousvi. For the three vacancies in Jammu, BJP fielded Pradeep Sharma for Poonch reserved seat and Randhawa against one of the two vacancies in Jammu, leaving a 'safe seat' for PDP's Abdul Qayoom Dar. A minimum of 29 votes were required to get elected from the 89-member Legislative Assembly, including two nominated MLAs. The ruling coalition partners have 58 MLAs together, and they decided to poll 30 votes to elect PDP's Dar against the vacancy going to the polls first, and the remaining 28 votes to Randhawa, contesting against the vacancy to go to polls next. Cross-voting by the PDP MLA left Dar and Randhawa with 29 votes each. Randhawa won the subsequent draw of lot used as a tie-breaker.