NEW DELHI - As counting began today in the crucial Jammu and Kashmir Assembly Elections, that are widely expected to see a rout of the ruling National Conference, its leader and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah seems to have already made his peace with the inevitable.
“6 years ago I was nervous as hell the night before counting, this time I'm strangely calm. What will be will be & I'll be a happy person," Abdullah tweeted last night. "To all the candidates in the field, regardless of party affiliation, good luck to all of you for tomorrow. May the best person win," he said.
Counting of votes for the 87-member Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly began this morning amid tight security. Abdullah is facing one of the most important challenges of his life as he struggles to hold on to power in the valley. Abdullah was elected the CM after the NC came to power in 2008 in J&K with an alliance with the Congress.
Abdullah rated his performance in the last six years as "between 6.5 and 7 on 10," according to NDTV.
"There is not a single decision that I have taken as a chief minister that I would call a blunder," Abdullah said. His comments came in the backdrop of a parliamentary committee criticizing his government's handling of the devastating floods in Jammu and Kashmir, NDTV reported.
Exit polls show a complete National Conference (NC) washout. NC is expected to win 10-12 seats in the 87-member Assembly. PDP is expected to bag around 35 seats with BJP making an inroad with 25 seats.
"Those of you who think parties base alliance decisions on one tweet clearly don't know how things work," Abdullah tweeted to stop speculations that the NC will side with the BJP. Abdullah had supported awarding the Bharat Ratna for former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Elaborate security arrangements have been made for the counting process with police and paramilitary personnel deployed in strength around the counting centres and in some parts of the city. A strategy has been put in place to deal with any law and order problem which may arise during or after the counting. A total of 821 candidates, including 276 independents, contested the elections.
(With inputs from PTI)