Counting of votes will be held on 23/12/2014 in Jammu & Kashmir and Jharkhand which witnessed a record turnout in the multi-cornered contests to elect their Assemblies.
The five-phase election in the two States which stretched for nearly a month saw 66 per cent voting with authorities making massive security arrangements to prevent any attempts by militants or Maoists to disrupt the polls. Election Commission official said on Monday that, The counting will begin at 8 a.m. and the first trends are expected to trickle within an hour or so. All security arrangements are in place at the counting centres.
In Jammu and Kashmir, where polling was held for 87 seats, the turnout was the highest after 1987 despite boycott calls by separatists and militants. The militancy-hit State has seen a quadrangular fight among ruling National Conference, main opposition PDP, BJP and Congress, which parted ways with NC ahead of the polls.
Most of the observers will keenly watch the result of Handwara Assembly constituency in north Kashmir Kupwara district where separatist-turned mainstream politician Sajjad Gani Lone is trying his luck.
Jharkhand, which has been battling Maoist violence, registered an overall 66 per cent turnout for the 81 assembly seats. The State, which was carved out of Bihar in 2000, bettered the previous mark of 54.2 per cent in the 2004 assembly polls.
Altogether 1,136 candidates, including 111 women, contested in Jharkhand an eligible electorate of 2,08,52,437, including 98,93,540 female voters. Out of the total seats, 28 are reserved for the Scheduled Tribes and nine for the Scheduled Castes.
Jharkhand, which has seen nine governments and three stints of President’s rule in 14 years, saw fractured mandates in both 2005 and 2009 assembly elections.
Most political observers and opinion polls are predicting a hung Assembly in Jammu and Kashmir. There are speculations about various political parties trying to work out an alliance, depending on the numbers thrown up tomorrow.
Mr. Omar’s National Conference, which was the single-largest part in 2008 polls winning 28 seats, is facing an uphill task to retain its position. PDP, which had 21 members in the 11th Assembly, is expecting to be the single-largest party, riding on the anti-incumbency and anger among the flood victims.
The ongoing elections will be a litmus test as much for BJP, which is making its first serious foray in Jammu and Kashmir to form a government, as for Congress, which will be hoping to stay relevant in the State politics following the massive rout in Lok Sabha polls earlier this year.
BJP launched an aggressive campaign as part of its ’Mission 44+’ — the magic number required for simple majority in the State Assembly — during which Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several top leaders of the party addressed election rallies across the State.
The party is hoping to make gains in the two States after wresting Haryana and Maharashtra two months ago.
Congress, which had 17 MLAs, on the other hand has softened the election rhetoric. Instead of claiming to be the single-largest party, the party leaders are maintaining that no government formation will be possible without Congress involvement.
National Conferenceand Congress, which were coalition partners for the past six years in the State but decided to go alone in the Assembly polls, fought a bitter war of words during the election campaign.
BJP, which contested in 72 seats, has a pre-poll alliance with the AJSU party which was in the fray in eight seats and Lok Janshakti party contested one seat.
Ruling JMM contested in 79 seats.Congress contested in 62 seats, RJD in 22 and JDU in 11.