Srinagar: National Conference (NC) has won all the three Lok Sabha seats in Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley whereas the BJP has retained the two seats of predominantly Hindu Jammu region and the lone seat of Ladakh. With this, the regional and religious divide has once again become evident in Jammu and Kashmir.
Among the winners is NC president and J&K’s three-time chief minister Farooq Abdullah who retained the prestigious Srinagar Lok Sabha seat by a comfortable margin of seventy thousand votes. He bagged 106,731 votes while his nearest rival PDP candidate Aga Syed Mohsin secured 36,705 votes.
The PDP faced a rout also in two remaining constituencies of the Valley including its once stronghold Anantnag where the party president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti finished third by bagging mere 30, 223 votes. The NC’s greenhorn Justice (retired) Husnain Masoodi defeated her and J&K Pradesh Congress president Ghulam Ahmad Mir by securing 40,032 votes while Mir got 32,879 votes.
It is for the first time that Ms Mufti has lost an election on her home turf. She while commenting on her defeat said, “I’ve been fortunate to get the love and affection of my people. They have every right to express their anger for my failings and I accept their verdict with humility”.
In Baramulla, NC candidate Mohammad Akbar Lone secured 131,869 votes while Peoples’ Conference candidate Raja Ajaz Ali got 102, 212. Awami Itehad Party (AIP) leader and former MLA Engineer Rasheed polled over one lakh votes.
The PDP had won all the three Lok Sabha seats in the Kashmir Valley in 2014. However, Mr. Abdullah managed to win the Srinagar seat in the 2017 bye-election. The seat had been fallen vacant after the PDP’s MP Tariq Hameed Karra quit the party over differences with Mufti.
The NC president while seeking to set agenda for himself and his party for next five years said in a statement, “We have to fight for the protection of the secular visage of the country. Moreover, the mammoth task before us to put up a strong front against such forces as is inimical to the special status of the state. We will spare no effort towards protecting Article 370 and Article 35A”. He said that the “other enormous task” ahead of them was to protect the ideals of the Constitution of India.
Union Minister in PMO Jitendra Singh won for the second time in a row in home constituency Udhampur by securing 711,199 votes over his Congress rival Vikramaditya Singh who got 365, 443 votes.
The BJP’s Jugal Kishore also romped home for the second time after securing 830,861 votes in Jammu. His Congress rival Raman Bhalla got 546, 403 votes. The party retained also the lone seat of Ladakh where its candidate Jamyang Tsering Namgyal secured 38338 votes against 29,004 of independent candidate Sajjad Hussain Kargali....