Jammu: The People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) has won a clear majority in six districts, followed by the BJP in five in the maiden DDC election in Jammu and Kashmir. But the alliance of seven mainstream parties has got an edge over the saffron party in six other districts as it is just short of one or two seats for the majority.
In the rest of the two districts independent candidates hold sway – Srinagar and Poonch – where they have won seven seats each. An independent candidate is also leading in another seat in Poonch district, where the counting for one of the constituencies is still in progress.
The PAGD, which among others includes regional heavyweights National Conference and PDP, swept the maiden District Development Council (DDC) polls by winning 110 seats, while the BJP emerged as the single largest party by getting 74 seats and the maximum vote share in Jammu and Kashmir.
The results of four constituencies - one each in Bandipora and Kupwara districts of north Kashmir and Poonch and Rajouri districts in Jammu region - are still awaited.
The counting of votes for the 280 DDC constituencies -- 14 each in 20 districts -- started on Tuesday morning after the peaceful culmination of the eight-phase election from November 28 to December 19. This was the first democratic exercise in Jammu and Kashmir post abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of the erstwhile state into two union territories last year.
Out of the 276 seats for which results have been declared by the J&K Election Commission so far, besides PAGD and BJP, Independent candidates have won 49; Congress 26; Apni Party 12; PDF and National Panthers Party (NPP) two each; and BSP one.
In the Kashmir Valley, the PAGD got full majority in Kupwara (nine seats), Budgam (10), Pulwama (nine), Anantnag, Kulgam (12) and Ganderbal (11) and is just short of one seat from clear majority in Baramulla, Shopian and Bandipora districts, while Srinagar district is open as the PAGD and the Apni Party won three seats each and the BJP one besides seven bagged by the Independents.
In Jammu division, the BJP has got the majority in Kathua and Samba (13 seats each), Jammu and Udhampur (11 each) and Doda (eight), while it has an edge in Reasi district where it got seven seats against three by the PAGD, two Apni Party, one Congress and one Independent.
The PAGD has emerged as the largest party in Ramban and Kishtwar in Chenab valley region by winning six seats each besides securing same number of seats in Rajouri district in Pir Panchal range, all falling in Jammu division.
The Congress, which has won seats in all the districts where PAGD is short of the majority, can play a crucial role in the formation of the DDCs. The national party was initially a part of the PAGD but distanced itself from the alliance as the BJP targeted the opposition party for being in league with the "Gupkar Gang".
Although the Congress went alone in the last seven phases, it is widely believed that its understanding with the PAGD remains intact.
In Poonch district, Congress has won four seats, the NC two and seven others went to Independents while the result of one more seat is awaited though an independent candidate is leading from there.
(PTI feed with minor edits)