National Conference emerges single largest party (Counting Trends - Second Lead)

December 28th, 2008 - 6:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar/Jammu, Dec 28 (IANS) The National Conference Sunday emerged a clear winner in the Jammu and Kashmir assembly elections, winning in 20 seats and leading in seven.Officials said the National Conference won 20 seats in the Kashmir valley, with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) trailing behind.

The PDP won 15 seats and was leading in eight seats, the officials said.

The PDP-Congress alliance ruled the state for a full term of six years. Under the state’s separate constitution, the state legislature has a tenure of six years.

The Congress, which ruled in the latter three-year period, won 10 seats and was leading in six seats.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has made its mark in the Hindu-dominated Jammu region, won 10 seats and was leading in one seat.

The state held seven-phase elections from Nov 17 to Dec 24 for its 87-member assembly.

An upbeat Farooq Abdullah, former chief minister and National Conference patron, said his party would work out an alliance with the Congress. His son and NC president Omar Abdullah, talking to reporters, flatly ruled out any alliance with the BJP.

“Once we work out an alliance with the Congress, the choice of the chief minister would have to be discussed by the two parties,” Farooq Abdullah told reporters in Srinagar.

Asked if Omar Abdullah would be the chief minister, he said: “why not? Omar is a young man ready to serve the people.”

Former chief minister and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the party would think twice before forming an alliance with any political party as Jammu and Kashmir is a border state.

“There is likelihood that instead of us supporting some party, some other party will have to extend support to us. We have started a peace process here and are happy the election was free and fair,” he added.

He, however, admitted that an agitation over land allotment for the Amarnath shrine board helped the PDP gain in the Kashmir Valley and the BJP in Jammu. “They were the architects of the issue themselves and have gained political mileage and benefits.”

In the last assembly elections in 2002, the National Conference had bagged 28 seats, the Congress 20, the PDP 16 and Independents 15. The Panthers Party had won four seats and the Communist Party of India-Marxist two. The BJP had won only one seat.

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