STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: Nineteen candidates saw an extremely close contest in the maiden District Development Council (DDC) polls in Jammu and Kashmir where the margin of victory was less than 100.Of these candidates, eight are Independents, followed by three from the BJP, two each from the National Conference and the Congress and one each from the Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP), People Democratic Front (PDF) and the Peoples Conference (PC), as per data of the state election authority.Avtar Singh, a Sikh who contested as Independent candidate in the Dadsara constituency of Pulwama district, won the DDC polls by just three votes.Singh polled 246 votes while rival NC candidate Ali Mohmmad Bhat polled 243 votes.
Khalid Bibi won Larnoo segment of Anantnag district on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ticket with a thin margin of seven votes as she polled 4,580 votes against his rival Independent candidate Sajida Begam, who polled 4,573 votes.Two candidates lost by just 11 votes in Shopian district. Former BJP minister Sham Lal Choudhary lost in the Suchetgarh constituency of Jammu district by 11 votes.As per figures of the state election authority, Sham Lal Choudhary polled 12,958 votes against Independent candidate Taranjit Singh, who polled 12,969 votes and lost by a very thin margin of 11 votes in Suchetgarh segment of Jammu district.Similarly, Independent candidate Bilqees Jan won Zainapora-I seat in Shopian district by defeating her rival candidate Gul Iqbal by 11 votes. She polled 9,342 votes while Gul polled 135 votes.Two candidates won by just 14 votes in Udhampur and Pulwama districts.Ashu Sharma of the BJP defeated Panthers party candidate Rishma Sambyal in the Tikri seat of Udhampur district by 14 votes. In the Qamarwari constituency of Srinagar district, Independent candidate Yaseen Rather won by just 21 votes defeating rival candidate of JKAP, Parvaiz Mir.Senior Congress leader and former minister Taj Mohiuddin, who was in the fray for Parenpillan constituency of Uri tehsil in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, won the seat with a margin of 1,596 votes, officials said. Taj, who held several terms as minister and MLA, polled 9,741 votes against the Peoples Conference (PC) leader Shaukat Ali Khan, who got 4,451 votes in the first-ever District Development Council (DDC) election.Veteran NC leader and former minister Abdul Gani, who contested from Mahore seat in Reasi district, won the election by a margin of 351 votes. He polled 4,833 votes and defeated independent candidate Shafi-ur-Rehman, who got 4,482 votes. Gani has been MLA and a former minister in the Omar Abdullah government.Jagjeevan Lal, a senior NC leader and former minister, won the Reasi seat by defeating BJP’s Chaman Lal by 237 votes. Lal polled 4,507 votes against Lal’s 4270.Former Congress minister and veteran Gujjar leader Ajaz Ahmed Khan, who joined the J&K Apni Party, won the DDC election from Thuroo segment of Reasi district by 1,578 votes, according to the SEA data. Ajaz Khan polled 4,904 votes, while Mohmmad Ashraf of the NC polled 3,326 votes. A veteran Pahari leader and former Congress minister, Shabir Ahmed Khan won the Manjakote seat in Rajouri district with a margin of 3,394 votes as he polled 8,714 votes against Shafat Khan, who got 5,320 votes. Shabir Khan was minister in the NC-Congress government led Omar Abdullah.Former BJP ministers Sham Lal Choudhary and Shakti Raj Parihar, however, lost their seat from Jammu and Doda districts.Another former minister of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Shakti Raj Parihar lost both the seats he contested from Gundna and Marmat segments of Jammu and Kashmir’s Doda district.Parihar lost to NC candidate Asim Hashmi by 1,336 votes. Hashmi polled 7,835 votes, while Parihar 6,499, according to the data. Parihar lost the Marmat seat by 1,330 votes as he polled 7,033 votes against Congress candidate Mushtaq Ahmed, who polled 8,363 votes.Parihar, who was the vice president of BJP’s J&K unit, is considered to be an important player in the region and was a minister in the BJP-PDP government.Former BJP MLAs Gharu Ram and Bharat Bushan won their seats in Jammu district, while former legislators Kanta Andhotra, Shahnaz Ganai, Shah Mohmmad Tantray and Mumtaz Khan lost their election.
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