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Large votes does not guarantee seats

india Updated: Nov 11, 2008 13:02 IST

Every political party during the elections tries to garner as many votes as possible to ensure victory of its candidates but large number of votes does not always translate into proportionate number of seats.

In Jammu and Kashmir, no party knows it better than the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The BJP secured 8.57 per cent of votes in the 2002 assembly elections, which was less than one per cent of those bagged by the People's Democratic Party (PDP).

While PDP contested 59 seats and secured 2,46,480 votes, the saffron party got 2,27,633 votes out of the total 26.55 lakh polled in the last assembly elections.

However, the fortunes of the two parties were in stark contrast when the haul of seats is compared. PDP with 9.28 per cent of the popular votes got 16 seats while the BJP managed just one.

The major reason for this sharp difference in number of votes and number of seats despite heavy voter turn out in Jammu region, where BJP has its base, was because most of BJP's candidates (28 of 29) lost to their opponents by wafer thin margins.

Also, in the valley, where the polls were boycotted on a large scale, the party had lost all its seats.

The only victory the party tasted in the last edition of the polls could have also gone the other way. Jugal Kishore had won the Nagrota seat (Jammu region) by mere 67 votes, which was just 0.17 per cent of 62,238 votes polled in the constituency.

National Conference was slightly benefited from the boycott in the valley as it got 28 seats for its 28.24 percent of popular vote. The number of seats secured by NC constitutes over 32 per cent of the 87-member house.

Congress, which won 20 seats, in the last assembly polls was the only party which got nearly what it deserved as per the popular vote. The party got 24.24 per cent of total votes.

Among the smaller parties, National Panthers Party (NPP) got four seats for 3.83 per cent of the votes polled by its 36 candidates while Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which had contested 33 seats, got just one seat for 4.50 per cent of the total votes.

CPI(M) was also a beneficiary of the boycott in the valley as two of its candidates were elected to the assembly even after securing less than one per cent of the total votes polled.

Independents had emerged as the fourth largest group in 2002 as they won 15 seats from their share of 16.51 per cent of the total votes.

As many as 19 national and state parties had filed 467 candidates for the 87-member house while 245 independents also tried their luck.

As is evident from the nominations filed for the first two phases of the 2008 assembly elections, it seems that a larger number of candidates would be in the fray including a higher number of independents.

While 102 candidates are in the fray for the 10 assembly segments going to polls in the first phase on November 17, 24 candidates are locked in multi cornered contest for the two seats in Ganderbal district going to polls on November 23 in the second phase.