Omar Abdullah's 'grand alliance' is vindicated in council poll
Srinagar: The clean sweep by the ruling National Conference (NC)-Congress alliance, which won the polls for all the four legislative council seats on Wednesday, has dispelled the notion that the alliance's popularity had not percolated to the grassroots in Jammu and Kashmir.
The ruling allies, led by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, jointly fought the elections, at which more than 90 percent of the 33,540 sarpanches and panches came out to vote despite a boycott call by separatists. A total of 96 percent village heads and council members voted on December 3 to send representatives to the upper house of the state's bicameral legislature. These elections drew wide attention as they were being held after 38 years with militant organisations and separatist leaders calling for a poll boycott year after year.
The opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP) fielded candidates for all four seats - two from the Jammu region and two from the Valley. The NC and the Congress fielded one candidate each from Jammu and the Valley. The electorate for the council polls comprised 33,540 elected panches and sarpanches, with 15,628 in Jammu region and 17,912 in the Kashmir Valley.
The common belief in political circles before the election results were announced was that the NC-Congress coalition in reality is an alliance between the Nehru-Gandhi family and the Abdullahs. Thus not many in Jammu and Kashmir believed that the alliance had percolated to the grassroots level. The internal bickering between some NC and Congress leaders lent credence to the belief.
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