The first-ever Block Development Council (BDC) polls in Jammu and Kashmir saw Independents making a clean sweep by bagging 217 of the 307 blocks for which elections were held on Thursday (October 24) and the results declared late in the evening.
BJP, came a distant second with 81 blocks. The major political parties, National Conference (NC), People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and CPM, boycotted the polls amid detention of their leaders following the abrogation of Article 370.
Chief electoral officer (CEO) Shailendra Kumar, at a press conference, told an impressive voter turnout of 98.3% was recorded in the polls. The state has 316 blocks but elections couldn’t take place in two blocks as they did not have an elected panch and sarpanch, while in four blocks reserved for women, there was no elected woman panch. In the Kashmir division, 128 blocks went to polls.
On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that the BDC polls held for the first time since 1947, “witnessed a historic turnout of 98%”. “I am delighted to share that the BDC polls in Jammu, Kashmir, Leh and Ladakh were conducted in a very peaceful manner. There was no violence. This shows the people’s unwavering faith in democracy and the importance they accord to grassroots level governance,” he tweeted.