Jammu: Counting of votes polled in the District Development Council elections in Jammu and Kashmir, the first direct election in the newly carved union territory, is underway.
As of 1.10pm, the state election authority has published leads for 224 seats out of the total 280 across the 20 districts of Jammu and Kashmir. Almost 13% of roughly three million votes polled in the eight-phase election have been counted so far.
The early trends give the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) – an amalgam of several political parties that joined hands after the effective nullification of the erstwhile state’s special constitutional position – a clear lead.
The alliance was leading in 87 seats, or 39% of seats for which the trends are known. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is emerging at the second position with a lead in 54 seats (24%). The Congress, which has been one of the leading political forces in Jammu and Kashmir, was leading in only 26 seats, while the newly formed Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party has so far been able to manage a lead in only 10 seats.
Another clear trend as of now is that the pre-existing political polarisation between the Hindu-majority Jammu and Muslim-majority Kashmir regions has continued in the latest round of elections.
As of 1.10pm, the PAGD was leading in 64 of 111 seats in Kashmir, for which the trends were known, while the BJP managed to have a lead in only 2 seats. In the Jammu region, on the other hand, the BJP was leading in 52 of the 115 seats for which the trends were known, while the PAGD managed to have a lead in 23 seats.