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In a first, BJP's Muslim candidate defeats NC's Hindu candidate in Jammu
Tuesday December 23, 2014 7:55 PM, News Network

The massive gains shown by the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2014 Jammu and Kashmir is marked by yet another surprise. In a first in decades, the BJP's Muslim candidate created history by defeating a Hindu candidate fielded by the National Conference in Jammu's Rajouri district.

Abdul Gani Kohli

Abdul Gani Kohli, a Muslim, of the BJP defeated his nearest rival Rashpal Singh, a Hindu candidate of the ruling National Conference in Kalakote assembly seat in Jammu. Rashpal Singh is a two-time legislator from the same seat.

Candidates from the Congress and the PDP occupied the third and the fourth positions.

Kohli polled a total of 25,225 votes, as against 19,047 votes polled by Rashpal Singh. Asad Bari Shah of the PDP secured 8,325 whereas Ashok Kumar Sharma of the Congress got a total of 10,520 votes.

"I am very happy to win this election on a BJP ticket. People have voted on the development plank of the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi," Kohli said after the results were announced.

Abdul Gani Kohli (71) is an Engineering Graduate and runs a business.

BJP, which had set itself a target of 50-plus seats in the assembly elections, had fielded 31 Muslim candidates including Kohli. Most of them had been contested from the Kashmir Valley.

While a majority of these candidates have lost and some are awaiting poll results, Kohli is the first BJP candidate from the Muslim community who has won from Jammu region in several decades.

In 1972, Sheikh Abdul Rehman had won the Jammu East seat on the ticket of then Bhartiya Jan Sangh.

The Kalakote assembly seat, which was carved out to give representation to the far-flung areas of the state in 1996, was bagged twice by the NC and once by the Congress.

Besides Kohli, several BJP Muslim candidates garnered sizable number of votes and two of them lost by a thin margin in Rajouri and Inderwal seats.

The BJP candidate from Muslim-majority Inderwal constituency in Kishtwar district, Tariq Hussain Keen, lost out to Congress candidate and former Minister GM Saroori by a margin of
12,370 votes.

In the Rajouri assembly seat, BJP candidate Choudhary Talib Hussain lost to Qamar Hussain of PDP by over 2,000 votes.

In Muslim-dominated Banihal constituency of Ramban district, Showkat Javed Daing of the BJP stood third.

In the Kashmir Valley, the BJP had pinned its hopes on Dr. Hina Bhatt and Dr. Darakhshan Andrabi - the two women who ran the high-pitch campaign for the safforn party. Both of them however lost the elections.

While Dr. Bhatt lost the eletcion to Altaf Bukhari of the PDP in Amira Kadal, Dr. Andrabi lost the election to PDP's Ashraf Mir in Sonawar. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also contested from this seat but lost.



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