NC sweeps Parliament polls in Kashmir; PDP routed

Fayaz Bukhari
Srinagar, May 23: People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was today routed in Kashmir with even its president and former Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti losing from Anantnag Parliamentary constituency as its main rival National Conference swept the polls in the Valley.
National Conference won all three seats-Anantnag, Srinagar and Baramulla – with huge margins by defeating nearest rivals People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Congress and the People’s Conference.

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In 2014 Parliament elections, the PDP had won all the three seats. Baramulla was won by Muzaffar Hussain Baigh, Srinagar by Tariq Hamid Karra and Anantnag by Mehbooba Mufti. However, Karra resigned due to difference with his party and the bypoll held in 2017 was won by Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti resigned in 2016 to become Chief Minister and no bypoll was held in Anantnag due to security reasons.
NC candidate Dr Farooq Abdullah won Srinagar seat hands down with a margin of almost 40,000 votes. He was leading with huge margin of votes since the beginning of counting in the morning and as the counting progressed, his victory became evident.
Abdullah polled 106456 votes while PDP’s Aga Mohsin polled 36700 votes and Peoples Conference candidate Irfan Reza Ansari got 28773 votes.

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In North Kashmir Lok Sabha seat, a tough contest was witnessed between NC’s Akbar Lone, PC’s Raja Aijaz Ali and Engineer Rashid. Lone managed to bag the seat with a heavy margin while as PC stood second with 102327 votes. The independent candidate Engineer Rashid, polled 101500 votes while as Lone bagged more than 132692 votes. The PDP candidate Qayoom Wani polled 53191 votes.
“I am thankful to my voters, who voted in my favour. I will go to Parliament and try to explain the sufferings of people of Kashmir so that they get relief,” Lone told reporters outside the counting centre.
The Independent candidate Engineer Rashid said that nothing can stop his party, Awami Itehaad Party (AIP’s) march towards becoming a viable alternative to NC, PDP and Congress.
In South Kashmir, Anantnag Parliamentary constituency Justice Hasnain Masoodi of National Conference defeated Congress president Ghulam Ahmad Mir by a margin of over 7000 votes. Masoodi polled 39898 votes and Mir polled 32534 votes.
The PDP Chief and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, managed 30068 votes only when she had won the elections from the constituency in 2014 with a huge margin.
Meanwhile, PC chairman Sajjad Lone said that he was happy to see PC emerging runner up given the vote share its candidates have got.