October 2018 News

Lotus Blooms In Valley

20 October 2018
Rising Kashmir
Junaid Kathju

Srinagar: With National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) boycotting the Urban Local Bodies (ULB) polls in the State, the rightwing BJP made big gains in the Valley and for the first time, the saffron party candidates won any election from the militancy-hit Kashmir. The BJP gained big in south, central and north Kashmir. In south Kashmir, it gained control over the municipalities while in Baramulla the rightwing party also fared well. In four militancy infested districts of south Kashmir, BJP won 58 wards. In Anantnag municipal committee, the BJP secured 29 wards out of 132 wards. In Shopian, out of 17 wards, BJP won 12 wards. In Kulgam out of 47 wards, the party won eight wards. In Pulwama municipal committee, out of 69 wards, the BJP won nine wards. In north Kashmir, Baramulla municipal committee out of 88 wards, the BJP secured 25 wards. In Kupwara, the saffron party secured three wards out of 39 wards. In Bandipora municipal committee, out of total 43 wards the BJP won three wards. In Srinagar Municipal Committee (SMC) out of 74 wards, the BJP won four seats. Similarly in Budgam municipal committee, out of 72 wards, the BJP won five wards. In Ganderbal municipal committee, the BJP won two wards out of 17 wards. Meanwhile, independent candidates have emerged as key players in the Urban Local Bodies (ULB) polls in Srinagar and other parts of troubled Kashmir. According to the official data, out of 74 wards of Srinagar Municipality, independent candidates won 53 wards. Junaid Azim Mattu, former spokesperson of National Conference (NC) won elections from all three wards - Solina, Rawalpora and Bud Dal. Mattu, who resigned from NC to participate in ULB polls from Srinagar, won Rawalpora (ward 14) with 180 votes, Solina (ward 18) with 157 votes and Bud Dal (ward 65) with 1083 votes. The biggest upset was caused by independent candidate Fancy Jan from SMC's Lawaypora ward. Fancy defeated beating Congress leader Tariq Hamid Karra's wife Asifa Hamid Karra by 18 votes. Asifa secured 501 votes while Fancy got 519 votes. In Ganderbal municipal committee, out of 17 wards, independent candidates won 13 wards. In Kupwara municipal committee, out of 39 wards, independent candidates won 33 wards. In Budgam municipal committee, out of 72 wards, independent candidates secured 16 wards. In Baramulla municipal committee, independent candidates won 25 wards out of 88 wards. Similarly, in Bandipora municipal committee, out of 43 wards, independent candidates won 10 wards. In Anantnag municipal committee, 11 wards were won by Independent candidates out of 132 wards. Independent candidates also won 7 wards out of 13 wards of municipal committee Kargil. The independent candidates elected in Srinagar would now play crucial role in electing mayor of summer capital. They have already caught attention of two political parties - Congress and BJP - who may approach them for seeking their support. Congress state president Ghulam Ahmad Mir appealed all the winning independent candidates to support them from keeping BJP out of SMC. BJP state general secretary Ashok Koul said their doors are open for independent candidates. 'They should support us in choosing the mayor of the city,' he said. The voter turnout in ULB polls in Kashmir was low with 8.3 per cent turnout in first phase on October 8, 3.4 per cent in second phase on October 10, 3.49 per cent in third phase on October 13 and 4.2 per cent in last phase on October 16. However, the overall percentage of polling in the State was 35.1 per cent.