JAMMU The BJP swept the Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) elections in the four-phased Urban Local Bodies elections in the state that were marred by boycott by the Hurriyat besides NC and PDP.
The Congress suffered a big loss in the election, winning only 14 seats in the 74-member house. Independent candidates won 18 seats in the JMC, they said.
The party this time bettered its previous strength of 25 in the House.
In rest of the 446 wards spread across Jammu region covering a total of 36 municipal committees and councils, the BJP had an edge over its rivals in 15 bodies followed by Independents in 12 and the Congress in five, they said.
The BJP won a total of 169 seats in these bodies followed by independents at 167 and the Congress at 96, the officials said.
They attributed the emergence of independents as a strong force in view of the absence of the NC and the PDP, the key regional parties.
The election in a ward in Ramban was countermanded due to the death of a BJP candidate who suffered a heart attack on the day of polling in the second phase on October 10.
The election in the 521 municipal wards in the 10 districts of Jammu was held in the first three phases of the elections in the state, which concluded on October 16, recording a high voter turnout of 68.4 per cent among the over 6.44 lakh electorate.
Thirteen candidates were elected to different municipal wards unopposed, leaving a total of 2,137 candidates in the fray.
The JMC along with seven municipal committees of Jammu went to polls in the first phase on October 8, registering a turnout of 63.8 per cent.
The counting of votes in the winter capital started at a government polytechnic institute at 9 am. As the results started pouring in, BJP leaders and activists came out to celebrate party’s victory.
National Panthers Party (JKNPP) failed to open its account in the majority of the wards, including the JMC.
Party chairman and former minister Harsh Dev Singh alleged rigging and claimed, “It is not the BJP but electronic voting machine (EVM) which won the election for the party.”
In the seven municipal committees of Jammu, the BJP won Akhnoor with 11 seats, while two seats went to Congress. In Bishnah, the BJP won six seats against seven by Independents.
In Arnia, the BJP won seven seats, independents five and Congress one, in R S Pura the BJP won nine, Independents three and the Congress one, in Ghmanhansan won the BJP two, the Congress two, in Khour won the BJP nine and Congress four and in Jourian the BJP won two, the Congress four and independent one, the officials said.
The BJP, which had won the Ladakh constituency in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, got a drubbing from the Congress in Leh and Kargil civic bodies. The saffron party failed to open its account in the two bodies while Congress bagged all 13 seats in Leh and six seats in Kargil.
Independents sweep in Muslim-dominated districts of Jammu
Independent candidates got a lion’s share of seats in the urban local body (ULB) polls, especially in Muslim-dominated districts of Jammu, winning 185 wards out of 521 spread across the region.
The independents have an edge over the BJP and the Congress in over a dozen municipal bodies, officials said.
They have presented a good show in all the 10 districts which registered a high voter turnout in the recently concluded ULB polls held after a gap of 13 years.
In the two municipal committees of Poonch district — 17-member Poonch and 13-member Surankote — the independent candidates won 23 seats, while the Congress and the BJP had to soothe with four and three seats, respectively, the officials said.
In the adjoining Rajouri district, independents won seven-member Kalakote municipal committee, while the BJP swept 13-member Sunderbani with 10 seats against three by independents and 13-member Noushera by winning seven against three each by the Congress and independents, they said.
The Congress won 13-member municipal committee Thanamandi by winning nine seats while four seats went to independents, the officials said, adding that 17-member Rajouri municipal committee witnessed a tough fight with the Congress, the BJP and independents getting seven, six and four seats, respectively.
In 13 wards of Kishtwar district, the officials said independents won 10 seats, while the Congress and the BJP won two and one seat, respectively.
Independents also enjoyed popular support in Doda district where they won 18 wards, out of total 37 of the three municipal committees of Doda, Bhaderwah and Thatri. The Congress got 12 and the BJP won seven wards.
In Ramban district, the Congress swept Banihal municipal committee winning all the seven wards, while Batote handed over four seats to the BJP, one to the Congress and two to independents.
In Ramban municipal committee, six seats were shared by the BJP, Congress and independents, while the election for one ward was countermanded due to the death of a BJP candidate on the polling day in the second phase on October 10.
Samba district also witnessed a record number of 27 independent candidates emerging as victorious followed by the BJP (18), the Congress (nine) and the National Panthers Party (two) in the four municipal committees of Samba, Vijaypur, Ramgarh and Bari Brahmana having a total strength of 56 wards, the officials said.
Barring Bari Brahmana where BJP had got seven seats and independents six, the rest of the municipalities have independents heading the chart.
In nearby Kathua district having one council and five municipal committees, independents won 27 of the total 80 seats. The BJP had won 34 seats and the Congress got 19 seats in the district.
In the Jammu Municipal Corporation, the BJP won by 43 seats, out of 75, while the independents emerged second with 18 seats followed by the Congress with 14.
Seven other municipal committees of Jammu district having a total strength of 79 wards saw independents winning 16 seats, leading the chart in Bishnah.
The rest of the seats were shared by the BJP (49) and the Congress (14), the officials said.
Nine independents emerged victorious in Udhampur municipal council followed by the National Panthers Party (six), the BJP (four) and the Congress (two) — much to the surprise of the saffron party which was expecting a victory of its candidates given the constituency being represented by Union Minister Jitendra Singh in Parliament.
The two other committees of Udhampur — Ramnagar and Chenani — saw the BJP winning 10 seats, National Panthers Party got five seats, independents won four seats and the Congress got one.
In Reasi district, the BJP headed the chart with 13 seats followed by independents (nine) and the Congress (four). (PTI)
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