National Conference leads in Jammu and Kashmir polls (Lead - Counting Trends)

December 28th, 2008 - 2:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar/Jammu, Dec 28 (IANS) The National Conference was ahead of other parties in the Jammu and Kashmir assembly elections, leading in 24 seats, as counting for the polls was underway Sunday. It has bagged one seat so far.Three hours after counting of votes began, the National Conference was leading in 24 seats and has retained the Gurez assembly seat in the border district of Kupwara.

The People Democratic Party (PDP) is second, leading in 20 seats.

The Congress, which had ruled the state for almost three years, was leading in 14 seats.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has made its mark in the Hindu-dominated Jammu region, was leading in 12 seats.

The PDP and Congress led and coalition government after the 2002 elections. The state held seven-phased staggered elections, from Nov 17 to Dec 24, for its 87-member assembly.

Sounding upbeat about the initial trends, BJP’s state unit president Ashok Khajuria said: “We will go further up.”

Former chief minister and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was leading in Bhaderwah constituency of Jammu, said they would think twice before forming an alliance with any political party as it is a border state.

‚ÄúThere 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 the Amarnath land issue 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, which had emerged as the single largest party in the state, 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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