BJP Registers Historic Victory In Legislative Council Seat From Valley

19 February 2015
The Indian Express
Arun Sharma

Jammu: The BJP on Thursday made history as one of its candidate got elected to Jammu Kashmir Legislative Council from the Valley uncontested. This followed Returning Officer M Ramzan finding documents of all the contesting candidates except an independent in order during scrutiny. However, a formal announcement about it will be made only on March 2 when polling is fixed for 11 vacancies in the Legislative Council which have arisen either due to retirement of members or their election to the Legislative Assembly, sources said. Pointing out that this has been first time in the state that a BJP candidate had made way to any of the two Houses of State Legislature from Kashmir Valley, sources said that 14 candidates had filed nomination papers for 11 seats in the Legislative Council including six from PDP, BJP (5), NC(2) and an independent. The nomination papers of the independent candidate Ajay Singh Chandel were rejected as not found in order. The BJP candidate getting elected to the Legislative Council from Valley happens to be its state vice president Sofi Yousuf who had unsuccessfully contested the 2014 assembly elections there. Yousuf had left his job in state police to join BJP and he unsuccessfully contested the Assembly polls as party nominee for the first time in 1999. The same year, he was injured seriously in terrorist attack in which three people had died, but braving terrorist threat he continued actively participating political activities including contesting Lok Sabha and Assembly elections there from time to time. The other four getting elected to the Council uncontested include BJP's Chering Dorjey (Leh), besides PDP's Inayat Ali (Kargil), Firdous Tak (Jammu) and Yasir Reshi (Kashmir). While Dorjey and Inayat Ali will have full six year term in the Council in view of their election against vacancies arising out of the retirement of their previous incumbents, Sofi Yousuf and Tak will have four year term in the House in view of their election against vacancies arising after the election of Abdul Majid Bhat Laram and Devender Rana (both NC) to the Legislative Assembly last year. Reshi's term will, however, last for only two years as he has been elected against vacancy caused by PDP's Mohammad Ashraf Mir. With this, of the 11 seats going to polls, the contest will be for only six seats including four from Jammu and two in the Valley. To fill up these, each of all the 87 newly elected MLAs will have only one vote for all the Jammu seats and another vote for Valley seats. Going by the composition of the Legislative Assembly where PDP has 28 members, closely followed by BJP (25), NC (15), Congress (12) and others (seven), one needs 29 votes to get elected against any of the vacancies from Valley and 18 votes for seats from Jammu. While PDP-BJP combine with 57 votes including two each of the Peoples Conference and independents will easily get four of these six seats including three from Jammu and one from Valley, it needs support of two more independents to get the second seat also from Kashmir as well. The fourth Jammu seat is sure to go to NC as the PDP-BJP combine after casting its vote for first three seats will be left with only three votes.