Despite the boycott calls and militant threat in the run-up to the election to the legislative council for four seats from the Panchayat quota in Jammu and Kashmir, more than 90% sarpanches and panches cast their vote in a peaceful atmosphere.
Panchayat representatives were tightlipped but committed to voting for candidates whom they thought would represent their voice in the state legislative council.
A total of 37 candidates are contesting on four seats of the legislative council from Kashmir and Jammu regions, out of which 16 candidates are in fray for two seats of the Kashmir region, K1 and K2, and 21 candidates are in fray for two seats of the Jammu region, J1 and J2.
It seems to be a straight contest between the candidates fielded by the National Conference-Congress combine and those of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Both are confident of victory of their candidates, but the picture will be clear once the results are announced on December 8.
"We are sure that the PDP would win both the seats of the Jammu region as majority of panches and sarpanches are aware of the deceit of the state government," said Sartaj Singh Lala, sarpanch Gondla in Ranbir Singh Pura block of Jammu district.
RS Pura block covers the panchayats of the two assembly constituencies, RS Pura and Suchetgarh, and both these seats were won by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidates in the 2008 assembly elections in the backdrop of the Amarnath land row. However, the scenario can be different in the legislative council elections.
"Out of the total 482 votes of sarpanches and panches, around 80 to 85% votes will be polled in favour of the PDP. Coalition candidates will also get few votes and the BJP will be wiped out," Lala added.
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