Independents Takeover Kashmir Municipal Bodies, Wait For New Horse Trading

by Saima Bhat

 SRINAGAR: Amid the tight security and high confidentiality maintained in the SKICC convocation center, the scene on the side of Dal was quite dull on Saturday when the results were announced for the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) that went under polls for the Urban Local Bodies election in four phases.

 The first winner was announced from the BJP Bashir Ahmad Mir, who won from Bagh-e-Mehtab ward. Holding his ‘certificate of participation’ in the elections, he was alone while coming out of the convocation center, which was a no zone for the journalists.

According to the senior journalists present in the lawns of SKICC, it has happened for the first time that media was not allowed to go inside the main building. It was one of the most boring result days ever.

 In Bagh e Mehtab ward, only nine votes were polled and eight were secured by Mir. He was quite confident with his victory when he said: “It doesn’t matter how many votes were polled because you always win with one or two votes only.” But his happiness was not visible on his face.

 Mir has been in politics since 1996. First, he was with Congress and then he joined National Conference but when his party announced that they are going to boycott the elections, Mir jumped to BJP. “This election was a basis for future and hopefully I’ll make it to assembly elections as well.”

But Mir was not probably able to convince all of his relatives to vote for him.

After Mir, another winner Nazia Yousuf, who was also alone and without any celebrations in the lawns of SKICC, was happy about her win in such ‘condition’ of elections.

 “I have been contesting elections since 2005 but we never had this kind of threat perception. This time atmosphere was not conducive. Very less number of people came out to vote and in phase I and Phase II they were even lesser,” she said.

Shazia also said that the days before polls were very difficult for her. “I have not slept for many nights for the safety of life.”   

In Kashmir division, including the Leh and the Kargil, having 624 wards, the highest 178 independent candidates have won the seats, followed by 157 candidates of Congress and 100 by BJP candidates. Two seats have been won by Maanav Adhikaar National Party and one by JDU and one booth was canceled for poll countermanded.

The main candidate in the limelight Junaid Muttu, who recently deserted National Conference, won from Rawalpora, Solina and Boed Dal. But more than Mattu, Sajad Lone seemed to be more excited over his success when he reached out to his followers on social networking site Twitter. He didn’t tweet about his independent candidates who made him won from various places.   

 Out of South Kashmir districts, which majorly was with the boycott, BJP has won maximum wards from three districts including Shopian, Kulgam, and Pulwama. They have won 29 wards in Anantnag district as well, where INC won maximum 50 wards.

 The Pulwama district had the highest number of vacant wards 57 out of total 69 wards. But what was most interesting was that BJP failed to open its account in Ladakh region. Out of the total 26 wards in this region, the Congress bagged all the 13 seats in Leh municipal committee. It also won six wards in neighboring Kargil district and seven were won by independent candidates. Bjp had invested massively in the desert region.

 In the Baramulla district, a journalist Tawseef Raina, who is of the fame of interviewing Syed Salahud din, has lost the elections to a lady, Jasbeer Kour, from minority community by a margin of three votes. His mother Fareeda and bother Shahid ul Islam had also contested in the elections. Out of this family, only the mother was declared as a winner. 

 In the Bandipora district, the district president BJP Waseem Bari has lost the elections from the two wards: Ward 12 and Ward 11, he was contesting elections from. He has got 0 and 1 votes respectively. Pertinently his father, mother, and sister who had also filed their nominations from the different wards have also lost the elections. It was a losing election for the whole family.

 While as in Kupwara, MP Fayaz Mir’s brother, Riyaz Mir has won the election in his ward. In the South Kashmir, the Congress party’s assembly candidate Hilal Shah has won from MC Anantnag. And the BJP president from Anantnag and his wife have both won from their wards.

 In Srinagar, an ex-militant, Farooq Ahmad Khan from Tanki Pora ward has also lost the elections. He had got just four votes.

 In the overall Kashmir region, three candidates won by a margin of just one vote like Tanveer Peer (Baramulla) and Ghulam Hassan Dar(Ganderbal), Hafizullah Beg (Uri).

 As the last reports came in, Imran Ansari, Sajad Lone and Junaid Mattu were seen around SKICC celebrating and hugging the winning candidates.

PS: This report was intervened for some factual errors. 



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