EC to issue 7 notifications for election to 11 MLC seats

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Feb 8: The Election Commission of India (ECI) will be issuing seven notifications for elections to 11 vacant seats of Legislative Council, the elections for which will be held in March while eight other vacancies in the Upper House, which have fallen vacant or will be arising in the next couple of months, will be filled up by the new Government through nominations by the Governor.
“Out of seven notifications, five will be issued for single seats including one each reserved for Leh and Kargil and three vacancies, which have arisen due to election of three MLCs to the Assembly. Of remaining two notifications, one will be issued for two seats of Kashmir and another for four seats of Jammu region,’’ official sources told the Excelsior today.
Announcement of the elections by the Election Commission of India is expected anytime now and the elections could be held in first week of March as vacancies had to be filled before retirement of the members, which was due in March-April.
Excelsior had exclusively reported earlier that 19 vacancies will be filled in the Legislative Council soon – 11 in election and 8 in nomination categories.
Sources said eight vacancies will be filled through biennial election—four each for Jammu and Kashmir divisions. While there is no reserved seat in four seats of Jammu division going to polls in March, out of four seats of Kashmir, one each is reserved for Leh and Kargil.
However, this time, election will be held on three additional seats as three MLCs, who have been elected to the Legislative Assembly have their terms left between two to four years. They included Devender Singh Rana and Abdul Majeed Laram (both NC) and Ashraf Mir (PDP). Though Deputy Chairman of Legislative Council Javed Rana has also been elected as NC MLA from Mendhar, his Upper House term is ending in April and that vacancy would be filled in routine.
According to sources, seven notifications were necessitated as the Election Commission had to issue three separate notifications to fill up the equal number of vacancies arising out of elections of three MLCs to the Assembly. However, under these notifications, the elected candidates will get only remaining terms of the MLCs. For instance, the MLCs elected against the vacancies of Devender Rana and Laram would get four years term while the MLC elected against the vacancy of Ashraf Mir will get two years term only.
The vacancy of Rana would be filled from the Jammu region while vacancies of Laram and Mir would be filled from Kashmir region.
To fill four seats of Jammu division, there will be only one notification while to fill four seats of Kashmir division, there will be three notifications as two seats from Kashmir are reserved for Ladakh—one each for Leh and Kargil.
“For four seats of Jammu and two seats of Kashmir, the candidates should belong to those regions. Similarly, for the reserved seats of Leh and Kargil, the candidates should be hailing from those particular districts. Also for the vacancy of Rana, the contestants should be from Jammu region while for the vacancies of Laram and Ashraf Mir, the candidate should be from Kashmir region,’’ sources said.
Barring three vacancies of Rana, Laram and Ashraf Mir, all other eight candidates getting elected from Jammu and Kashmir divisions (four each including reserved seats of Leh and Kargil) would get full term of six years.
Sources said the PDP-BJP combine would be in a position to win nine to 10 seats comfortably going by the equations in the Legislative Assembly. The prospectus of the newly formed alliance would get further boost if the elections are held after formation of the Government as by then the Alliance can nominate two women MLAs to the Assembly, who also have the right to cast votes for the Legislative Council elections though they can’t vote for Rajya Sabha polls.
Just like the Alliance won two seats of Shamsher Singh Manhas (BJP) and Mir Mohammad Fayaz (PDP) without much contest as separate notifications had been issued for them, the Alliance candidates would win five seats comfortably against five notifications for single seat including one seat each reserved for Leh and Kargil and three seats, which have fallen vacant due to election of three MLCs as MLAs.
On sixth notification, which will be issued for four seats of Jammu region, the PDP-BJP alliance would be in a position to wrest three seats while NC-Congress combine together can win one seat. The PDP-BJP, which have confirmed support of 57 MLAs can get their candidates polled 19 votes each while NC-Congress combine have maximum of 30 votes (which were polled by Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad yesterday in Rajya Sabha elections). Even if NC-Congress combine split the votes to two candidates, they can manage the victory of one candidate only as PDP-BJP combine nominees would have 19 votes each.
For seventh notification for two seats of Kashmir division, the votes could be repeated just like yesterday’s results for two seats of Rajya Sabha unless the election takes place after the Government formation and PDP-BJP get two extra votes of nominated women MLAs. In this notification, the PDP-BJP combine would be sure of one seat and could get even two with the help of nominated women MLAs and if they managed to get one Independent out of three, who votes for Azad yesterday, on their side.
Overall, sources said, the PDP-BJP combine would easily win nine out of 11 seats on which elections will be held and even 10 with some extra support.
Apart from election on 11 seats, eight posts would be filled up by the new Government through nominations by the Governor, all of which would go to the PDP-BJP combine. In Nomination category, there is no reservation region wise but the persons should be eminent educationists, social workers, academicians and intellectuals etc. However, it is generally seen that the Governments nominate their political leaders against the vacancies.
Sixteen MLCs, both in nomination and election categories, whose posts have either fallen vacant or would be falling vacant in March-April are Amrit Malhotra (Chairman-Congress-Nominated), Javed Rana (Deputy Chairman-NC), Sheikh Ghulam Rasool (NC, now in PDP-Nominated), Ajatshatru Singh (NC, now in BJP-Nominated), Subash Gupta (Congress-Nominated), Ajay Sadhotra (National Conference-Nominated), Bashir Ahmad Magray (Congress-Nominated) Aga Sayeed (National Conference-Elected), B R Kundal (Congress-Elected), Khalid Nujeeb Suhrawardhy (National Conference-Elected), Nurbo Gylatsan (Congress-Elected), Ravinder Sharma (Congress-Nominated), Rafiq Ahmad Shah (Nationalist Panthers Party-Elected, now in PDP), Ghulam Qadir Pardesi (National Conference-Nominated), Vijay Bakaya (National Conference-Elected) and Syed Asgar Ali (PDP-Elected).
Nurbo Gylatson of Congress had been elected from seat reserved for Leh while Aga Sayeed of NC was elected from seat reserved for Kargil.
Three MLCs, whose posts have fallen vacant after their elections to Assembly, are Devender Singh Rana and Abdul Majeed Laram (both NC) and Ashraf Mir (PDP).

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