Clean sweep for NC-Congress in J and K
The ruling National Conference-Congress coalition in Jammu and Kashmir has won all four seats in the state legislative council from the panchayat reserved quota polling for which was held Dec 3, it was announced Thursday.
In Jammu region, both the coalition candidates, Shahnaz Ganai of the regional NC (by a margin of 6,917 votes) and Sham Lal Bhagat of the Congress (by 7,285 votes) defeated their nearest Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rivals.
In the Kashmir Valley, NC candidate Ali Muhammad Dar defeated his nearest PDP rival Peer Muhammad Hussain by 2,900 votes while Ghulam Nabi Moonga of the Congress won over his PDP rival Yasir Reshi by over 1,900 votes.
The contest was multi-cornered with all the parties fielding their candidates, while the coalition partners - NC and Congress shared two seats each in Jammu region and the Kashmir Valley.
These elections from the panchayat quota were held after 38 years in Jammu and Kashmir under the backdrop of threat by militants' organisations and separatist leaders calling for a poll boycott.
Of the 36 seats in the state legislative council, six (four from panchayat quota and two from local bodies) were lying vacant since the last panchayat polls in 2011.
The electorate for the council polls comprised 33,540 elected panches and sarpanches (village council members and heads), with 15,628 in Jammu region and 17,912 in the Kashmir Valley.
A total of 96 percent village heads and council members voted Dec 3 to send representatives to the upper house of the state's bicameral legislature.
The last panchayat quota legislative council elections were held in 1974.
The victory for the ruling alliance in all the four seats for the legislative council is seen as a significant development and the polls are an acid test in the run up to the 2014 assembly elections.