Ecstatic Bashir Mir, BJP candidate from Bagh-e-Mehtab knows he has ‘Won’

At the end of the polling day on Monday this BJP candidate standing from Bagh-e-Mehtab here knew he had won the election to the ward, even though results of multi-phased civic polls are far away.
Ecstatic, Bashir Ahmad Mir broke the news of his “victory” over phone to his family. “Don’t worry. The election is over. I have won,” Mir announced, visibly thrilled. As first phase of election to urban local bodies was held across Jammu and Kashmir, Mir stood outside the polling center set-up inside a community hall, eagerly waiting for the voting to end.
Asked what results he expected, Mir responded, albeit hesitantly: “Nine votes were polled in this ward… I got eight votes and won the election.”
His claims about voter turnout were confirmed by a polling staff member at around 4 pm.
“A total of nine votes were polled out of 5018 votes in this ward,” he said.
While four polling booths of the ward were set up inside the garrisoned Bagh-e-Mehtab center, two other booths had been established in Shankerpora locality near Nowgam.
“All the nine votes were polled in Bagh-e-Mehtab center. No vote was cast at Shankerpora booth,” said the official.
Hailing from nearby Kralpora, Mir said he stood from Bagh-e-Mehtab on the city outskirts because the ward of his residence is reserved for women candidates.
However Mir had a complaint.
An “outsider” from Palpora in Eidgah was allowed to contest from the ward, he said, unmindful that he himself is an outsider in Bagh-e-Mehtaab.
“He got only one vote,” said Mir, referring to independent candidate Muhammad Ashraf.
Along with ward No 74 from Bagh-e-Mehtab, two other wards from Srinagar in Bemina and Humhama went to polls on Monday.
But Bagh-e-Mehtab recorded lowest poll percentage among the three wards as the aggregate votes polled rested at 6.2 percent.
For the entire day, Bagh-e-Mehtab looked like a little ghost town with its residents choosing to shut themselves indoors. Throughout the day, lanes and by lanes in the locality wore a deserted look.
The only signs of life were visible around the community hall that had been transformed into a polling center.
Alert men in uniform, both from J&K police and paramilitary CRPF, stood guard after every few meters to thwart any protests.
Inside the center, polling staff waited anxiously for voters to turn up. But there was hardly any visitor and with each passing hour the wait grew longer.
“We wish the polling time ends quickly,” said a government employee on polling duty.
Mir said low turnout was the outcome of separatists’ boycott call, and militants’ threats to candidates asking people to stay away from the elections. But he was quick to assert that poll boycott by National Conference and PDP had no impact on the elections. Asserting that he was in politics for the past 25 years with parties including PDP, PDF, “others” and Congress, Mir said he joined BJP ahead of the municipal poll announcement in the state.

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