Election results: Shah says all options open in J-K
Jammu and Kashmir will have a hung assembly with no party nearing the majority mark in the 87-member state assembly, while the BJP-led alliance looks set to form Jharkhand's first single-party majority government. The BJP also made big gains in Jammu, while the PDP and the NC swept the Kashmir region. BJP president Amit Shah congratulated party workers for yet another impressive show. Commenting on government formation in J-K, he said all options were open.india Updated: Dec 24, 2014 13:02 IST
Jammu and Kashmir will have a hung assembly with no party nearing the majority mark in the 87-member state assembly, while the BJP-led alliance looks set to form Jharkhand's first single-party majority government.
The BJP also made big gains in Jammu, while the People's Democratic Party (PDP) and the National Conference (NC) swept the Kashmir region. The Congress performed impressively in the Ladakh region.
With the PDP emerging the single-largest party in the state, the question now is whose support Mufti Mohammed Sayeed will seek in a bid to form a government.
Sources say the PDP is split over whether to ally with the Congress or the BJP. One section was of the opinion that going with the BJP would alienate the party's voter base, while the other section believed that joining hands with the Congress was against voter sentiment.
The BJP, which emerged the second largest party in J-K, too kept its cards closed. "All options in J-K are open to us. We can become part of a government or provide support to a government," BJP chief Amit Shah said at a press conference
As the counting of votes began at 8am Tuesday, the saffron party took an early lead in both states, indicating that exit poll predictions of a clean sweep by the BJP in Jharkhand (81 seats) and a second-place finish in J-K might come true.
The contests, however, intensified as the counting progressed.
By 3pm, Kashmir's outgoing ruling National Conference (NC) had won 11 seats; it was ahead in four more. There was a close contest between principal opposition PDP and the BJP: the former bagged 21 seats and was ahead in eight, while the latter won 22 seats and was leading in three till the filing of this report.
The constituencies in which the BJP won or had an upper hand were in Hindu-dominated Jammu region, which accounts for 36 assembly constituencies in the state. The party was trailing in all three seats of the Muslim-majority Poonch district in Jammu.
Also, the saffron party was leading in five constituencies out of the nine where Prime Minister Narendra Modi had addressed the rallies in the run-up to the elections.
Modi had addressed nine rallies in total including one in Srinagar-Kashmir division, where his party is unlikely to open an account.
Chief minister Omar Abudullah lost to the PDP Srinagar's Sonawar constituency, but managed to narrowly win Beerwah the other seat he was contesting.
In Jharkhand, he BJP alliance was inching towards the halfway mark of 41, with Sibu Soren's JMM a distant second with around 20 seats. The Congress stares at single-digit number.
"The people of Jharkhand have given clear majority to a political party for the first time after the formation of the state," said Shah, while also stressing the party's dream run in elections following the April-May Lok Sabha poll victory and successes in Haryana and Maharashtra.
"I extend my wishes to the BJP workers in both states as it wouldn't have been possible without their efforts," Shah said, adding the results were as per his expectations
According to the Election Commission, the overall turnout in elections for both states held over November and December stood at 66% -- a record for militancy-hit J-K, especially, with the percentage being its highest in two decades.
Chief minister Hemant Soren was trailing from his family stronghold in Dumka against BJP's Luis Marandi. The chief minister won the Barhait seat.
The indications suggested this election could give the state its first government with a single-party majority since its inception in 2000.
The state has been dogged by political uncertainty since its birth 14 years ago, witnessing nine governments and three stints of President's Rule. It witnessed fractured mandates in both 2005 and 2009 assembly elections.
Arjun Munda, ex-BJP chief minister of the state, said the party would take a call on who would assume the top job in Jharkhand after the results were out. "I am an ordinary party worker," Munda, who was trailing in Kharsawan constituency, said.