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'JK will have a hung Assembly'

By Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
December 27, 2008 19:40 IST
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As the counting of votes for the 87 assembly constituencies begins tomorrow, Jammu and Kashmir is likely to have another hung assembly, according to poll experts.


While the main battle for the 46 seats in the Valley remains between the National Conference (NC) and the People's Democratic Party (PDP), the sudden swing of voters in favour of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Jammu region could cost the Congress party heavily which had 15 seats from the Jammu region in 2002 elections.


Indication available suggests the BJP will do exceedingly well in the 13 seats those went to polls in the last phase of the seven phased elections in Jammu and Samba districts on December 24.


"The BJP because of their remarkable achievements in the Hindu majority areas of the Jammu region can now play a major role in government formation as none of the political parties in the fray is likely to get a clear mandate on its own," said a newspaper editor.


The Congress still believes it could get around what it had in the 2002 elections when they had bagged 15 seats from the Jammu region and five from the Valley.


"We shall not finish less than 18 in any case," said a senior Congress leader here who wished not to be named. 

Even when the possibility of the NC and the PDP finishing neck to neck with each other remains strong, the bad news for the PDP is that because of their strong pro-valley posturing, the BJP and the Congress might finally be forced to side with the NC rather than the PDP.

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar