Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made significant inroads in the Jammu region as it bagged 25 of the 37 seats in the province, a feat which helped it emerge as the second largest party in Jammu and Kashmir where the Assembly election results were announced today.
The party, however, failed to make any breakthrough in the Kashmir Valley and Ladakh where it drew a blank in 50 seats.
In the Jammu region, Congress got five seats followed by three each by NC and PDP and one went to lone Independent candidate from Udhampur Kuldeep Gupta.
In 2008, BJP had won 11 seats in the region. Congress had bagged 13 seats, followed by six by NC, two by PDP, three by J&K Panthers Party and two by Independent candidate.
BJP also made inroads in Chenab Valley, the home turf of Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, bagging four of the six seats. Congress had won five of the six seats in Chenab valley in 2008 polls.
However, the vote share of BJP has dropped dropped to 23 per cent from 32 per cent in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
“We have tried our best. We have bagged 25 seats in these polls. It is history for BJP this time. Although we have not got results in Ladakh region and some areas in Kashmir on expected lines, but we did very well in Jammu,” BJP spokesperson Suresh Magotra said.
“Modi wave which is all about good governance, development and anti-corruption has surpassed the Amarnath land row wave of 2008 when for the first time the party created a history by winning 11 seats. Today, the party has won 25 seats which in itself is a clear victory of the Modi wave,” another BJP state spokesman Balbir Ram Rattan said.
“We made a gain of 14 seats which is a clear victory of the slogan of development over every other slogan. The people in the state were fed up with bad governance, widespread corruption and above all dynasty politics,” Rattan said.
Many BJP candidates who won the Assembly elections for the first time attributed their success to the work done by the Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the Centre.
“The credit of our victory goes to the positive wave created by the good governance being provided by the Narendra Modi government at the Centre,” Gagan Bhagat, the BJP candidate who won from RS Pura, said.
He defeated PDP’s Bhushan Lal with a margin of 13,610 votes.
Bhagat said the party high command would decide on the question of government formation in the state.
“The party high command would take the decision on the formation of the government in the state. The task that was assigned to us was to win the seat which we did,” he said.
BJP won majority of its seats in the region in the fifth and final phase. Of the 20 Assembly constituencies of Jammu region that went to polls on December 20, BJP won 16, whereas PDP and NC won two each.
For the first time after 1996, ruling NC made inroads in Jammu district by winning two seats of Bishnah and Nagrota.
NC candidate from Bishnah Kamal Arora defeated two-time Independent MLA Ashwani Sharma by a margin of 2,986 votes. Sharma had fought as a BJP candidate.
BJP also had to face defeat in the party stronghold of Nagotra where NC candidate Devendra Singh Rana defeated its candidate Nand Kishore Sharma, who is the brother of president of the state unit of BJP and sitting MP from Jammu seat with a margin of 4,048 votes.
“This is a shock to BJP’s ‘Mission 44 Plus’ as NC has succeeded in two seats of Jammu district. People have reposed faith in the good work that NC did in the past six years. The party high command will decide the future course of action,” Devendra Singh Rana said.
Many bigwigs of the ruling coalition tried their fate in the final phase and many sitting Cabinet ministers, including Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, had to face defeat.
Tara Chand, who was the Congress candidate from Chammb, was defeated by Krishan Lal of BJP by a margin of 14,790 votes.
Another sitting minister Sham Lal Sharma from Congress lost to BJP’s Rajiv Sharma in the Akhnoor Assembly seat by a margin of 9,380 votes.
In Gandhi Nagar, BJP’s Kawinder Gupta defeated sitting Congress minister Raman Bhalla with a margin of 16,777 votes. In Raipur Domana, BJP’s Bali Bhagat defeated former minister and Congress candidate Mula Ram by a margin of 32,143 votes.
In the Congress stronghold of Chenab Valley, BJP pulled an upset in the Doda Assembly seat where party candidate Shakti Raj defeated Cabinet Minister and Congress candidate Abdul Majid Wani by a margin of 4,040 votes.
In Bhaderwah, BJP candidate Daleep Singh defeated former minister and Congress candidate Mohammed Sharief Niaz by a margin of 1,496 votes. In Kishtwar, sitting minister and NC candidate Sajjad Ahmed Kichloo was defeated by BJP’s Sunil Kumar Sharma by a margin of 2,852 votes.
In Ramban, BJP’s Neelam Kumar Langeh defeated Chaman Lal of NC by a margin of 5,364 votes.
In Inderwal, Congress succeeded in retaining its seat as Ghulam Mohammed Saroori defeated BJP’s Tariq Hussain Keen with a margin of 12,370 votes.
In Banihal, Congress’s Vikar Rasool Wani defeated PDP candidate Bashir Ahmed Runyal by a margin of 4,349 votes.