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LC polls: 1 seat to throw up curious contest

From the remaining two seats of Jammu province, the coalition would easily secure one seat, while as close contest is expected on other seat between the ruling alliance and the opposition.
Umer Maqbool
Srinagar | Posted : Mar 24 2017 2:14AM | Updated: Mar 24 2017 12:00AM
LC polls: 1 seat to throw up curious contest
File Photo

Given the strength of political parties in the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly, the upcoming election for six seats of the Legislative Council is set to generate a political heat in the state. Close contest is expected on one of the seats between the ruling PDP-BJP combine and the opposition National Conference-Congress. Of remaining five seats, four would go into the kitty of the ruling alliance and opposition would win one seat.

As already announced by the Election Commission of India (ECI), three separate elections—one for three seats of Kashmir, second for reserved seat of Poonch and third for two seats of Jammu province—would be held for six berths in the House of Elders.

The seats would fall vacant due to retirement of Yasir Reshi (PDP), Dr Bashir Veeri (NC), Jahangir Mir (Congress), Master Noor Hussain (NC) and Jugal Kishore (Congress). Another seat had already fallen vacant last year following the death of NC MLC, D S Oberoi.

With its respective strength in the Legislative Assembly, the ruling alliance is sure to get its two candidates elected from three seats of Kashmir for which a separate election would be held. Another seat from Kashmir would easily go into the kitty of the opposition.

In the Lower House, the strength of the ruling combine is 58 (PDP 28, BJP 25, Peoples Conference  2, Independent Baqir Rizvi and two nominated members). The nominated members are also eligible to cast their votes during the LC polls.

The combined strength of NC-Congress is 27 (15 NC, 12 Congress). In the last LC and Rajya Sabha elections, M Y Tarigami (MLA Kulgam) and Hakim Muhammad Yasin (MLA Khansahib) voted in favour of the opposition, taking their total strength to 29.

The coalition, with 58 MLAs, would also easily  win the reserved seat from Poonch district.

From the remaining two seats of Jammu province, the coalition would easily secure one seat, while as close contest is expected on other seat between the ruling alliance and the opposition.

For this seat, the NC-Congress, which has 29 votes including two votes of Tarigami and Hakim, it would need support of either Er Abdur Rashid or Pawan Gupta, to ensure the win of its candidate.

Rashid had voted for Congress in the 2015 Rajya Sabha polls and asserted to have voted in favour of  PDP in the LC polls held a month later.

Gupta, who was Minister of State in the PDP-BJP Government headed by late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, was dropped from the Council of Ministers when Mehbooba Mufti-led Government took over the reins in April 2015.

Since then, Gupta has been vocal critic of the BJP within and outside the Assembly. According to observers, an interesting scenario could emerge in case Rashid and Gupta abstain from voting.

“In that case, the coalition can distribute their 58 votes equally among their two candidates. This would result in all three candidates- two from the ruling alliance and one from opposition- getting 29 votes each. Then the two winners would be decided through draw of lots,” they said.

At present, the strength of the Upper House is 33, with PDP having 11 members, BJP eight, National Conference seven and Congress seven.

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