Junaid Azam Maattu, the former National Conference (NC) spokesperson who quit his party to contest the Urban Local Body (ULB) polls in Jammu and Kashmir, was elected as Mayor of Srinagar Municipal Corporation on Tuesday, with support fron People's Conference and BJP.
Mattu secured 40 votes while Congress candidate for the mayoral post Ghulam Rasool Hajam got 26 votes in the 74-member SMC, Commissioner of the civic body Peer Hafizullah told PTI.
Mattu resigned from the primary membership of the NC in September after the party decided not to contest the urban local body polls till the Centre made clear its position on Article 35-A of the Constitution, which has been challenged before the Supreme Court.
Mattu contested the SMC election as Independent from four wards, winning from three of them.
He was announced as the mayoral candidate by Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone hours after the election results were declared on October 20.
The Congress emerged as the single largest party in the SMC with 16 seats but fell way short of 38, the number of seats required to take control of the corporation.
While the Peoples Conference had four, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had five candidates elected to the corporation. There are 53 Independent corporators.
Lone, who was a minister in the PDP-BJP coalition government in Jammu
and Kashmir from the BJP quota, is seen as instrumental in garnering support for Mattu's election, along with rebel PDP MLA and influential Shia leader Imran Raza Ansari.
However, Mattu's election as Mayor of the SMC has been clouded by remarks of Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik during an interview to a private TV channel last month.
Malik had, without naming Mattu, said Srinagar was getting "foreign educated mayor" which would send jitters among the regional parties such as the NC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which did not take part in the elections.
The political parties had said the Governor's remarks had put question mark on the whole election process.
In the results of the urban and local body elections BJP swept the Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) elections and made some advances in Kashmir, by winning 100 wards in the valley, in the four-phased Urban Local Bodies elections in the state that were marred by boycott by the NC and PDP.
However, Independents emerged as the single largest group in the elections in Kashmir by winning 178 wards across 42 municipal bodies in Kashmir division, including Leh and Kargil, elections authorities said.
The Congress overcame the BJP in the valley by bagging 157 wards, while saffron party won in 100 wards.
The NC and the PDP boycotted the election over the issue of Article 35-A, which according special powers to the state legislature with regard to permanent residents of the state.
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