Independents secure maximum seats in Jammu & Kashmir local polls

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SRINAGAR: Independent candidates won the maximum number of seats in the urban local body polls held in four phases in Jammu & Kashmir in October 2018. They won more than 363 wards of the total 1144 wards across the state.

Out of 624 municipal wards in the Kashmir Valley, polls were held only in 208, while 231 candidates won uncontested and 185 wards remained vacant.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 100 wards in Kashmir, 76 of which went to the party uncontested. It won 212 out of the total 520 wards and cleared the Jammu Municipal Corporation polls. Although BJP was unable to open any account in Ladakh Region.

Congress secured 157 wards in Kashmir and Ladakh, and 110 in Jammu. Jammu and Ladakh regions saw nearly 70 per cent voting. Whereas, around 8 per cent voters in the Kashmir Valley exercised their franchise following threats by militants.

Independent candidates secured 178 wards in the valley and thus will turn out to be a decisive force in the formation of the corporation.

The voter turnout was 8.3 per cent in the first phase of the election held on October 8, 2018, 3.4 per cent in the second phase on October 10, 3.49 per cent in the third phase on October 13, and 4.2 per cent in the fourth phase on October 16. The overall voter turnout was 35.1 per cent.

The People’s Conference, an ally of the BJP, performed well in Handwara and Kupwara in northern Kashmir. It claimed that many independent candidates were contesting elections on its behalf and staked a claim for the post of the mayor in Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC).

The People’s Conference chief Sajjad Lone announced in a post on Twitter that independent candidate Junaid Azim Mattu, who won from three wards in Srinagar, would be the party’s candidate for the mayor of SMC.

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