‘North Kashmir likely to spring surprise, elaborate security at counting centers tomorrow’
Srinagar, May 22: As the Lok Sabha poll result is set to be out tomorrow in Jammu and Kashmir, what remains to be seen is whether National Conference candidate Dr Farooq Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Mehbooba Mufti would retain their forts.
Except 2014 Lok Sabha polls, when Dr Farooq lost to the then PDP candidate Tariq Ahmed Qarra, the NC president have never lost any election in his life. This time, he had locked horns with PDP candidate Aga Mohsin and also with the BJP’s Khalid Jehangir.
Sources told KNO that though Srinagar witnessed low voter turnout in the Lok Sabha polls, it is evident that boycott may have benefited Dr Farooq but it is premature to say whether he would sail through as PDP candidate who enjoys support of Shia vote bank in Srinagar and Budgam and also in some parts of Ganderbal has given him a tough fight.
As far as the BJP’s Jehangir, it won’t be a cake walk as BJP has failed to make the party popular in the district and that the party enjoys very less support compared to NC and PDP.
A senior NC leader said that they were confidence of Dr Farooq’s win this time. “People have understood the need for defeating the parties with divisive agenda and those who want to scrap the special status of the State. So NC is the only choice left for them. As per our poll analysis, Dr Farooq will lead with a huge margin and bag the seat,” the NC leader told KNO.
About Anantnag Lok Sabha seat where Congress candidate had a direct contest with the PDP’s Mehbooba even though NC’s Hasnain Masoodi also bagged good number of votes, the contest was tough given the near total boycott by the people even though the polls were held in three phases for Anantnag seat, first time in the election history of Jammu and Kashmir.
What remains to be seen is whether Mehbooba can retain the seat as South Kashmir was seen as the PDP bastion till recent past as NC has a weak base in southern districts that gives Mehbooba an edge to sweep. But NC’s Masoodi too is a strong candidate.
“Tomorrow, it will be clear that whether people have sided with Mehbooba or voted for the change in south Kashmir that remained the epicenter of the anti-government sentiment,” Adil Lateef, a political science student told KNO.
In north Kashmir’, independent candidate Engineer Rashid, according to political observers has played a spoil sport. He bagged a good number of votes while as contest remained between Peoples Conference candidate Raja Aijaz Ali and NC’s Akbar Lone. PDP had fielded Adul Qayoom Wani, whose chances of victory seem to bleak given the way contest showed people voting for PC and independent candidates.
“In north Kashmir, it was a triangular contest. What would be interesting to watch is whether north would witness a change and do away with the parties like NC and PDP,” said an elderly man, who voted for PC in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.
Meanwhile, elaborate security arrangements have been made for the peaceful counting centers in Kashmir and also in Jammu region, respectively. A top police officer told KNO that a multi-tier security will be placed in and around all counting halls tomorrow across Kashmir to ensure smooth counting of votes. “Section 144 CRPF will remain in force at all the counting stations,” the official said.