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KASHMIR – Hung house,PDP on top, BJP second, JHARKHAND gets BJP government 

Srinagar/Jammu, Dec 23 (IANS) Jammu and Kashmir got a hung assembly Tuesday, with the PDP becoming the single largest group and the BJP making history by finishing a close second in a verdict that exposed the deep divide between the largely Muslim Kashmir Valley and Hindu-majority Jammu region.

With no single party in a position to form a government on its own, the Peoples Democratic Party with 28 of the 87 seats hinted it was not averse to sailing with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which bagged all its 25 seats from Jammu region.

The National Conference of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah — who won from Beerwah but lost in Sonwar — won 15 seats, disproving critics who felt it might be wiped out. Its estranged ally Congress finished with 12 seats — five less than last time.

Seven seats went to smaller parties and independents including two bagged by the People’s Conference of Sajjad Lone, a former separatist leader. Yusuf Tarigami, a veteran Marxist, won again from the valley.

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the record voter turnout in Kashmir as a sign of people’s faith in democracy, BJP president Amit Shah credited the unprecedented showing by his party in the state to the six months of good governance by Modi.

Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh, a Lok Sabha member from Udhampur in Kashmir, said: “This will be a turning point for BJP and for Jammu and Kashmir politics.”

The BJP, until now considered a bit player in Kashmir that too only in Jammu region, not only increased its seat tally from 11 in 2008 to 25 now, but polled the maximum votes – over 23 percent.

The BJP had hoped to win 44 seats — enough to take power on its own in Jammu and Kashmir. That did not happen.

The BJP did not field any senior leader or known face in the election. Instead, the party projected Modi as the answer to Kashmir’s long-standing problems.

Modi visited the state six times to campaign and focussed mainly on issues of development. He also spoke against corruption and dynastic rule.

On his part, outgoing Chief Minister Abdullah said “I have accepted the people’s verdict,” he said. “But those who thought we would do badly very badly have been proved wrong.”

Riding on the Modi wave, the BJP won its 25 seats in the Jammu region, where only six Congress candidates won. But the BJP got only two percent of votes in the Kashmir Valley.

The National Conference and PDP won two seats each in Jammu region and got the rest in the valley, the epicentre of a dragging separatist campaign.

Three of the four seats in the Buddhist-dominated Ladakh region went to the Congress. The fourth seat was taken by an independent supported by the National Conference.

BJP general secretary P. Muralidhar Rao said: “More important than winning is the fact that the BJP’s acceptability has increased in the state in an exponential way.

“What will be important for us (when we decide on alliances) is how to fight terrorism and insurgency… Jammu and Kashmir is not like any other state. We need to see the options available (to us).”

The BJP Tuesday emerged victorious and prepared to form its government in Jharkhand, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying the people have “voted for stability which is essential to realise the true potential of the state”.

The BJP won 42 seats , while its pre-poll alliance partner the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) got 4 Seats — taking them comfortably past the magic halfway mark of 41 in the 81-member assembly.

“People of Jharkhand have voted for stability which is essential to realise the true potential of the state. I congratulate them,” said Modi who had campaigned vigorously in Jharkhand, a state that is home to 3.2 million.

The vote share of the BJP went up from last time’s 24 percent to 31 percent now.

The party also did remarkably well in the tribal Santhal Pargana region that has 18 assembly segments. The BJP won seven seats in the tribal belt, a marked improvement from just two seats it held earlier.

The ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) failed to improve its performance, winning 19 seats “We are disappointed with our performance. We were expecting 30 plus seats… We are hopeful of getting more than 20 seats two more than that in the previous polls,” Supriyo Bhattacharya, general secretary of the JMM, told IANS.He added: “The alliance with Congress and RJD could have kept the BJP away from power. The Congress stand to part ways helped the BJP win in Jharkhand.”

The Congress-RJD combine bagged a miserable 6 seats .

Ahmedabad: BJP workers celebrate party's performance in Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir assembly polls in Ahmedabad, on Dec 23, 2014. (Photo: IANS)

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