Jammu and Kashmir polls: Neck to neck fight between BJP, PDP

Srinagar/Jammu, Dec 23: Amid predictions of a hung assembly, the BJP and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were locked Tuesday in a close race for power in Jammu and Kashmir.

In what is widely seen as a superb performance, Bharatiya Janata Party candidates were on the winning track in 28 of the 82 seats where officials gave early trends from vote count that began in the morning.

Jammu and Kashmir polls: Neck to neck fight between BJP, PDP .
Almost all the seats going the BJP way are located in Hindu-majority Jammu region, which accounts for 37 of the 87 seats. But the BJP's face in the Kashmir Valley, Hina Bhatt, led from Amira Kadal in Srinagar.

The PDP led by former chief minister Mufti Mohammed Saeed, who himself led in Anantnag, was a close second in 25 places.

The overwhelmingly Muslim Kashmir Valley has 46 constituencies while the Buddhist-dominated Ladakh accounts for four seats.

The ruling National Conference took the lead in 13 constituencies. Its estranged ally, the Congress, was ahead in 10 seats.

Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh said: "This will be a turning point for BJP and for Jammu and Kashmir politics."

The BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had campaigned vigorously in Jammu and Kashmir with a pledge to win 44 seats -- and assume power on its own for the first time in the country's only Muslim-majority state.

A total of 48.29 lakh votes are to be counted Tuesday.

Most exit polls predicted a hung assembly in Jammu and Kashmir at the end of staggered polling.


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