No Party Close To Magic Figure Of 36 Cong, BJP Bid To Secure Majority Wooing Independents
2 February 2005
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: Ruling Congress-People's Democratic Party (PDP) coalition had a slender edge of two seats over the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as the first ever election held for Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) threw a hung House with no alliance even coming close to the simple majority figure of 36. In the House of 71, the Congress and PDP, the two coalition partners in the State who didn't have a pre-poll alliance, bagged 29 seats (Congress 27 and PDP 2) while the BJP and Shiv Sena alliance secured 26 seats (BJP 25 and Shiv Sena 1). The National Conference threw a surprise by winning six seats while independents bagged nine seats. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) also opened its account winning one seat. The Congress also emerged the single largest party with 27 seats, two ahead of the BJP's 25. The National Panthers Party, a partner in the coalition Government, Jammu Kashmir Praja Parishad, a group which split from the BJP on the eve of elections and Jammu Mukti Morcha, a champion of statehood for Jammu, drew a blank despite contesting between 20 to 40 odd seats. Their candidates even didn't come close to the winners. Prominent winners were Rani Gargi Bloeria, Manmohan Choudhary, Manmohan Singh Pinka and Tilak Raj Gupta (Congress-I), Kavinder Gupta, Sat Pal Grover, Suresh Jamwal, Arun Khanna and Usha Choudhary (BJP), Sanjay Mahay (Shiv Sena), Surinder Singh Shingari and Dharamvir Singh Jamwal (NC), Bansi Lal Gupta and Parveen Gupta (independents). Among the noted losers were Y V Sharma, V K Maggoo, Gurmeet Singh, Krishan Lal Abrol, Dr Roop Lal Sharma, Kanta Bhan and Maheshwar Singh (Congress), Banarsi Dass Gupta, Indu Bushan Sharma, Omkar Sharma, Baldev Singh and Brahamjyot (BJP), Raj Kumar and Renu Azad (PDP). The BJP, however, handed over a severe drubbing to the Congress in Jammu City (West and East) Assembly segments represented by Deputy Chief Minister Mangat Ram Sharma and Minister of State for Youth Services and Sports Yogesh Sawhney. The BJP won seven out of 11 seats in City East while the Congress could secure only one seat. In Jammu West, BJP bagged 13 out of a total of 26 seats while the Congress could get only seven seats. The Congress recorded impressive performance in Gandhi Nagar segment of Raman Bhalla, Minister of State for Consumer Affairs and Transport winning 14 out of total 24 seats. The BJP could get only 3 seats. The maximum number of independents (six) also came from Gandhi Nagar constituency. In Social Welfare Minister Mula Ram's Raipur-Domana segment comprising nine wards, BJP secured four seats while Congress and National Conference bagged two seats each. One independent emerged victorious. With no alliance being able to cobble up a workable majority of 36, the Congress, BJP and even the National Conference tonight started exploring a possibility of securing majority in the House to rule the first ever Corporation in winter capital of the State. Deputy Chief Minister Mangat Ram Sharma told the Excelsior that with Congress and PDP together securing 29 seats, the party will try to woo seven independent candidates. 'Seven Congress rebels have emerged victorious, five in Raman Bhalla's constituency and two in my segment. If we succeed in persuading them to join hands with the coalition, we can reach the magic mark of 36', he said. 'Our priority is to keep the communal forces out', Mr Sharma said. Asked whether the Congress will approach its one time ally (the NC) for securing majority in the coalition, he pointed out that the PDP (an arch rival of the NC) has to be taken into the confidence even before initiating such an exercise. BJP president Dr Nirmal Singh also expressed confidence that the BJP will secure a majority in the Corporation with the help of independent candidates. 'Hitherto, we have not explored the possibility of forming the Corporation with the help of National Conference, which always remained a target of the BJP ever since its inception', Dr Singh said exuding confidence that the BJP will be able to bring together the independent candidates in the next two days. The BJP, he asserted, was anticipating to cross the half way mark but nevertheless the results are 'nearly upto our expectations as we lost few seats with very narrow margin'. NC provincial president Ajay Sadhotra said the party is watching the situation keenly and the party high command will shortly take a decision on the role of NC's six Corporators. 'Why can't the NC with six Corporators form its Corporation when Mufti (Mohd Sayeed) with 16 MLA can form the Government in the State'? he asked and observed: 'instead of supporting others, we can ask other parties to support us'. Prominent independent candidate Bansi Lal Gupta, who recorded impressive victory from Ward No. 20 against Congress heavyweight Gurmeet Singh, said he was in touch will all independent candidates and was endeavouring to bring them to one platform. 'I have not taken a decision so far on supporting any party', he said regretting that a political party with which he was affiliated for last 45 years (without naming the Congress) had ditched him while giving mandate. Reports revealed that top leadership of both the Congress and the BJP had started wooing the independent candidates by visiting their houses in a bid to secure their support. An independent winner Neerja Khajuria from Ward No. 67 was likely to join the BJP tomorrow, the BJP sources claimed. BJP candidate Ashok Singh Manhas recorded the highest victory margin of 2072 from Ward No. 61. All his rivals forfeited their deposits. Congress candidate Namrata Sharma won by the lowest margin of four votes in Ward No. 70 over her nearest BJP rival Kamlesh Jasrotia. Counting for Ward No. 19 was stopped for more than two hours as symbol kite of independent candidate Avinash Kour had been printed as lamp on some ballot papers. However, the counting resumed later and Congress candidate Lalita Sharma was declared elected. Ruling PDP opened its account winning two seats from the City in Ward No. 2 (City East) and Ward No. 16 (City West). The winners were Zaffar Javed Khan and Kalpana Kathyal. The National Conference also won three out of its six seats from the City. The NC candidates emerged victorious in Ward Nos. 4 and 6 (City East) and Ward No. 27 (City West) besides Ward Nos. 32, 59 and 62. BSP opened its account in Ward No. 40 (Jammu West) which was won by its candidate Chaman Lal by a margin of 186 votes. It was, however, Shiv Sena candidate Sanjay Mahay, who had secured a good number of votes in 2002 Assembly election from City East constituency, who defeated Congress big gun and a possible Mayor candidate Y V Sharma in Ward No. 11 by 505 votes. Out of total 11 seats in Jammu East Assembly constituency, BJP won five seats while as National Conference and Congress two each. The remaining two seats were shared by Shiv Sena and PDP. Narinder Singh of Congress won from ward number 1, defeating his rival by a margin of 101 votes, Zaffar Javed Ahmed of PDP won by a margin of 290 from ward number 2. BJP candidate Darshana Devi won from ward number 3 by a margin of 187 votes while as National Conference candidate Ashok Kumar emerged victorious from ward number 4 and his victory margin was just 11 votes. Rajesh Gupta of BJP won from ward number 5. He defeated his rival by 1015 votes. Rashida Begum, NC candidate defeated her rival from ward number 6 by a margin of 60 votes. From ward number 7, Gulshan Mahajan of BJP defeated his rival by 58 votes. Priya Sethi of BJP won from ward number 10. She defeated her rival by a margin of 466 votes while as Sanjay Mahey of Shiv Sena defeated his rival by 505 votes from ward number 11. It was veteran BJP leader Satpal Grover, who emerged as victorious from ward number 15. He defeated his rival by a margin of 448 votes. Lalita Sharma of Congress won from ward number 19. She defeated her rival by a margin of 228 votes. From Jammu West constituency, Narsing Dass of BJP candidate, won from ward number 8. He defeated his rival by a margin of 797 votes. Subash Gupta of BJP won from ward number 9 by a margin of 51 votes. Balbir Kumar of Congress won from ward number 12. He defeated his rival by a margin of 323 votes. Vijay Malhotra of Congress won from ward number 13. His victory margin was 198 votes. From ward number 14, Sunita Devi of BJP defeated her rival by 25 votes. His victory margin was 448 votes. Kalpana Katyal of PDP won from ward number 16 and her victory margin was 159 votes. From ward number 17, BJP candidate Balwan Singh won by a margin of 40 votes while as Dinesh Gupta of BJP emerged victorious from ward number 18 by a margin of 19 votes. Arun Khanna of BJP defeated his rival by a margin of 446 votes in ward number 24 while as Usha Choudhary of BJP won from ward number 25. Her victory margin was 460. BJP leader Sat Sharma, CA was Incharge of Ward Nos. 24 and 25 where the party recorded impressive victories. Hardip Singh, independent won from ward number 26 and his margin of victory was 112. Surinder Singh of National Conference defeated his rival by a margin of 710 votes from ward number 27. Raj Rani of BJP defeated her rival from ward number 27 by a margin of 210 votes while as Manmohan Singh of Congress won from ward number 29. He defeated his rival by a margin of 313 votes. From ward number 30 Balwant Kumar, independent won by a margin of 723 votes. Neelam Kumari of Congress defeated her rival from ward number 31 by a margin of 140 votes while as from ward number 32, Dharamveer Jamwal of NC defeated his rival by a margin of 989 votes. Chander Mohan Gupta of BJP won from ward number 32. He defeated his rival by a margin of 87 votes. Deep Kumar of Congress won from ward number 34 by a margin of 126 votes. Sureshta Rani Jamwal of BJP defeated her rival by 94 votes from ward number 35. Kavinder Bhushan Gupta of BJP, from ward number 36, defeated his rival by a margin of 57 votes. Ravinder Gupta of BJP won from ward number 37 and his victory margin was also 37 votes. Darshana Devi of Congress won from ward number 38 and her victory margin was 442. Rajinder Singh of Congress defeated his rival by a margin of 667 votes from ward number 39. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate Chaman Lal won from ward number 40. He defeated his rival by a margin of 186 votes while as Pushpa Devi of BJP emerged victorious from ward number 41. She defeated her rival by a margin of 600 votes. From Gandhi Nagar constituency, Bansi Lal Gupta, independent candidate, won from ward number 20. He defeated his rival by a margin of 299. Tilak Raj Gupta, Congress candidate won from ward number 21 and his margin was 455 votes. Suresh Jamwal of BJP won from ward number 22 and her victory margin was 436 votes. From ward number 23, Pawan Singh of Congress defeated his rival by a margin of 222 votes. Manmohan Choudhary of Congress defeated his rival by a margin of 964 votes from ward number 42 while as Kulbhushan Sharma of Congress defeated his rival by 115 votes from ward number 43. Kailash Rani of Congress won from ward number 44. Rajinder Singh of Congress emerged victorious from ward number 45. He defeated her rival by a margin of 1865 votes while as Dwarka Nath, independent won from ward number 46, by a margin of 58 votes. Reeta Kumari of Congress defeated her rival by a margin of 1258 votes from ward number 47 while as Asha Devi of same party emerged victorious from ward number 48 and her victory margin was 464. Kamal Singh of Congress won from ward number 49 and his victory margin was just 8 votes. Parveen Kumar Gupta, independent candidate won from ward number 50. He defeated his rival by a margin of 63 votes. Asha Rani, independent won from ward number 51. Her victory margin was 451 votes. Jaswant Singh, independent won from ward number 72 by 126 votes. From ward number 53, Shub Chander Verma of BJP defeated his rival by a margin of just 21 votes while as Santosh Magotra of Congress won from ward number 54. Her victory margin was 140 votes. Balwant Singh of BJP defeated his rival by 229 votes from ward number 55. Congress candidates Satish Kumar from ward number 56 and Inderjeet Kour from ward number 57, emerged victorious from their respective wards and their victory margins were 156 and 454 votes respectively. Paramjit Singh of Congress won from ward number 58. His victory margin was 728. From nine seats of Domana constituency, Ashok Singh of NC won from ward number 59 and his victory margin was 34 votes, Rajani Bala of Congress won from ward number 60 by a margin of 604 votes. Ashok Singh Manhas of BJP won from ward number 61 and his victory margin was 2072 votes. Subash Chander of NC won from ward number 62. He defeated his rival by a margin of 36 votes. Manohar Lal of BJP won from ward number 63 and his margin was 422 votes. Sheela Koul of BJP won from ward number 64. She defeated her rival by a margin of 436 votes. Om Kumar of BJP won from ward number 65. He defeated his rival by a margin of 131 votes. Uttam Singh of Congress won from ward number 66 by 212 votes. Neerja Khajuria, independent won from ward number 67 and her margin of victory was 179 votes. Mohinder Singh, independent won from ward number 68 and his margin was 291 votes. From ward number 69, Congress candidate Jai Singh won from ward number 69. His victory margin was 268 votes. Namrata Sharma of Congress won from ward number 70 and her margin was just four votes. Rani Gargi Blowaria of Congress won from ward number 71 and her victory margin was 92 votes.