SRINAGAR: Kunzar has emerged as the first municipality in Kashmir that will not witness any kind of contest, reports reaching from Baramulla said. All its seven wards have one candidate each and there is no contest, one senior official said.
“We do not know exactly who they are but at least three of them are from BJP and three others are locally known as workers of a local party,” the officer said. “This clearly shows that there is no requirement of a contest because every ward has one candidate only.”
Indications suggest a possibility about pre-poll arrangements cannot be ruled out. There were nine nominations following which two withdrew later. “In one case, the candidate withdrew the nominations and in another case, the nomination was rejected during scrutiny,” an official said. “This left one candidate each for a ward each, hence no contest.”
In the main Baramulla town where the municipality has 21 wards, there is not a single ward without a nomination. In six wards, however, there is the only candidate so these wards will not require any contest at all. Those who have won without a contest are from Congress and independents. Some candidates have clear political affiliations but are contesting as independents. So town’s 15 wards will witness a contest.
“There were some wards where there was a contest but some candidates withdrew their nominations at the last moment,” an officer said. BJP is formally contesting on 11 wards in the town’s municipality.
Tauseef Raina, 26, who is contesting the polls from Baramulla along with his mother and brother, said he has two like-minded friends also contesting. “Of the five of us only one has won uncontested,” he said. “We are all contesting.”
Watergam, which is part of the Baramulla district but falls under the police district Sopore, has 13 wards and all the wards – excepting one – have nominations. In nine wards, there was just one candidate and in absence of a contest, they were won. “In the three remaining wards, there are multiple nominations and will require elections,” an official source said. “Congress and BJP are the major gainers.”
Nominations from Watergam and Kunzar were filled at Baramulla instead of the local offices because of the security situation. All the nominations were filed on the last day, reports said.
Baramulla is going to polls for the municipality in the first phase on October 8. Kunzar and Watergam are slated to go to polls in the second phase on October 10.
In border Uri town which has 13 wards, almost all have a contest. “There are 32 candidates in the fray,” the officer said. “On 13 wards Congress is contesting, BJP is formally contesting in five wards and the remaining wards have a lot of independents,” officials said. Today was the last day for nominations but scrutiny is yet to take place. Uri goes to municipal polls in the third phase.
Kashmir’s two main political parties – NC and PDP – have stayed away from polls insisting that the governor’s administration and central government have linked the polls with the local body polls. This has left the entire political space open for the two national parties – Congress and BJP. Given the security situation, various candidates have avoided contesting on party mandate and have taken the independent route to contest.