J&K civic polls: BJP get majority in Shopian as 13 candidates get elected unopposed

BJP will control the municipal corporation in militancy-infested Shopian district of south Kashmir after 13 of its candidates won the civic body polls unopposed with most people preferring to maintain a distance from the electoral exercise following threats by terror groups. The Shopian district, which has been the battle ground of numerous encounters between militants and the security forces, has a 17-member municipal corporation. The BJP fielded candidates for 13 wards while no nomination was filed for the remaining seats. “We had only one nomination each for 13 wards while no nominations were received for four other wards of the Municipal Committee, Shopian,” an election official said Wednesday. The state BJP claimed it was a “historic win”. Jammu and Kashmir BJP chief Ravinder Raina said “our motto is development of all and we will do justice to all kinds of people. We are extremely happy”. However, political observers do not read much into the BJP’s ‘victory’ and feel that these elections were ‘meaningless’ after the state’s major political parties — National Conference and PDP — decided to boycott the elections over the legal challenge to Article 35-A of the Constitution in the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, fear of terror groups pushed the state electoral machinery into the secrecy mode to ensure that the names of the winning candidates or those who filed nominations were not leaked. BJP state president Raina, meanwhile, lashed out at the National Conference and the PDP for making a “mockery of the democratic process” by boycotting the urban local polls. “The National Conference with the Congress formed the Hill Development Council in Kargil recently but in Kashmir they are running away from the democratic process,” he said.

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