STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: Jammu and Kashmir State Election Commissioner K K Sharma on Wednesday said the counting of votes in two DDC constituencies has been kept in abeyance to clear doubts over the citizenship of two of the contesting candidates from north Kashmir’s Bandipora and Kupwara districts.
Sharma said the counting in rest of the 278 District Development Council (DDC) seats, which started on Tuesday morning, concluded peacefully Wednesday morning.
The counting of votes was deferred in Drugmulla constituency (Kupwara district) and Hajin-A (Bandipora) in view of a question that has arisen on eligibility of one each contesting candidates from the two seats, Sharma told reporters here.
Two persons hailing from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), who are married to former militants, are among the contestants from the Dragmulla and Hajin-A constituencies.
A final decision in this regard shall be taken after taking all aspects into consideration, the SEC said.
He said any person who is contesting the elections has to be a citizen of the country.
The Election Commission acted after a complaint was received and the names of both these candidates were accordingly removed from the electoral rolls because of this doubt The question about their citizenship is there and so we will be hearing from them and will take a decision accordingly, Sharma said.
In response to a question, he said the counting in the two constituencies has not started and the ballot boxes still remain sealed.
India is a democracy and has a tradition for people coming into the country from abroad. PoK is different so we have taken a very considerate decision otherwise there were other options available like stopping of elections or countermanding the polling, he said, adding, We are studying the matter and will act according to the law of the land. I think we have made a good decision .
Sharma said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged as the single largest party with 75 DDC constituencies followed by J&K National Conference with 67 seats while the PDP won 27 and Indian National Congress (INC) won 26 seats.
Similarly, the newly formed J&K Apni Party (JKAP) won 12 while JKPC and CPI-M bagged eight and five seats respectively, he added. He said independents turned out to be major winners during these elections, winning 18 percent of the total seats while registering their win on 50 seats.
Likewise, JKNPP and PDF registered win on two seats each and BSP emerged victorious on one seat from Kathua district, Sharma said. The SEC informed that 28,55,509 votes were counted in total in the 278 DDC constituencies.
Among the political parties BJP got 24.82 percent votes followed by JKNC with 16.46 percent, Congress 13.82 percent, PDP 3.96 percent, JKAP 5.3 percent, JKPC 1.98 percent vote share while rest of the vote share went to others including independent candidates, he said. Sharma lauded the efforts of all the employees, security forces, police personnel and health officials who remained engaged in the counting of votes till early morning on Wednesday.
The SEC reiterated that despite the cold conditions particularly in the Kashmir valley and some parts of Jammu province, all the counting officials and allied arrangements have put in their great efforts by remaining at their counting stations very early on Tuesday morning, when the counting started, till its conclusion.
He complimented all the district administrations for the arrangements that were put in place for the counting process besides ensuring smooth conduct of the election process despite the challenging situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.