For the first time, a BJP supported candidate become the Mayor of Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) in Jammu and Kashmir. Former National Conference leader Junaid Azim Mattu, who quit the party to contest the urban local body polls in the state, was elected as Mayor, yesterday, with the support from the BJP and the Peoples Conference.
Mattu secured 40 votes while Congress candidate for the mayoral post Ghulam Rasool Hajam got 26 votes in the 74-member SMC, said Commissioner of the civic body Peer Hafizullah. As both PDP and NC boycotted the local body polls, he had resigned from the primary membership of the party and contested as independent from four wards, of which he had won from three wards.
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 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 lawmaker 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 mr Mattu, said Srinagar was getting “foreign educated mayor”.