The fate of nearly 2,200 candidates for the 280 District Development Council (DDC) seats in Jammu and Kashmir will be decided today, as counting of votes will begin for the eight-phase polls held for the first time in the union territory.
As of 1.50 pm, the early trends in the counting of votes for the DDC Elections gave the Gupkar alliance an edge. The Gupkar alliance is now leading on 65 seats, while the BJP is ahead on 46 seats. The Congress is leading on just 19 seats, lowest among the mainstream parties.
Counting of votes for the first-ever DDC elections, which concluded on December 19, began at 9 am on Tuesday at all district headquarters across the Union Territory amid tight security.
Section 144 has been imposed by the administration in Doda to maintain the law and order situation. Three-tier security arrangements have been made to ensure free fair and smooth counting of votes. Counting agents of different political parties reached the centres.
The DDC election is being seen as a fight between the BJP and other political parties in the region. The elections to this third tier of Panchayati Raj system were held for the first time in Jammu and Kashmir and were the first mass polls since the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019.
The polling was held over eight phases beginning November 28 and ending on December 19 as 51 per cent of the 57 lakh eligible voters exercised their franchise in the elections, which were largely peaceful.
Seven Kashmir-centric mainstream political parties, including the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party, contested the polls in an alliance under the banner of the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) formed for the restoration of Article 370.
The Congress was initially a part of the PAGD but distanced itself from the alliance as the BJP targeted the opposition party for being in league with the 'Gupkar Gang'.
Although the Congress went alone in the last seven phases, it is widely believed that its understanding with the PAGD remains intact.
(Inputs from Agencies)