Mehbooba Mufti loses Anantnag for massive crackdown on protesters after Burhani Wani's death and PDP alliance with BJP

Sameer Yasir
While the voting was moderate in Baramulla Lok Sabha seat, there was a near boycott on Anantnag and Srinagar seats as the people observed shutdown on the call of separatists and the polling booths were largely empty as youth clashed with the forces on the roads.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won two seats of Jammu and Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir riding on the wave in its favour after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's, hard stance against Pakistan following the 14 February militant attack on a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy in Srinagar which killed at least 40 of its personnel.

In the elections, the People's Democratic Party (PDP) was routed as the party lost on all the three seats in Kashmir with former chief minister and party president, Mehbooba Mufti, losing by a margin of over 9,000 votes on Anantnag parliamentary seat in the wake of "heavy-handed" measures to control the agitation which was stirred after the death of Hizbul Mujahideen militant commander Burhan Muzafar Wani, as well as its alliance with the BJP after 2014 Assembly polls. Mehbooba got 25 percent votes against the National Conference's Hasnain Masoodi who got 33 percent votes while former minister and Congress state president, Ghulam Ahmad Mir, secured 27 percent votes from 1.22 lakh votes cast in the constituency.

After the results, Mehbooba conceded defeat.

"I've been fortunate to get the love and affection of my people. They have every right to express their anger for my failings. Accept their verdict with humility. Congratulations to winning candidates from NC. I'm grateful to my party workers and colleagues," she tweeted.

The BJP candidates, Jugal Kishore Sharma and Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office, Jitendra Singh, won the elections on Jammu and Udhampur constituencies respectively by a huge margin of 2.86 lakh and 3.49 lakh votes against the "secular alliance" of PDP, NC and Congress. The NC and Congress had announced their alliance on the two seats, while the PDP said that it was not fielding any candidates to ensure that there was "no division" of secular votes.

Both the Congress candidates, the scion of Dogra dynasty, Vikram Aditya Singh, and former minister, Raman Bhalla, lost on Udhampur and Jammu Lok Sabha seats respectively. On the seats of Udhampur and Jammu, Jitendra Singh and Jugal got 62 percent and 58 percent votes respectively from the total votes of 11.67 lakh and 14.53 lakh against 32 percent by Vikramaditya Singh and nearly 38 percent by Raman Bhalla.

The BJP improved on its vote tally on Jammu and Udhampur Lok Sabha seats. In 2014 parliamentary polls, Jitendra Singh had defeated former chief minister and Congress leader, Ghulam Nabi Azad, by a margin of over 60,000 votes, while Jugal had won the Jammu seat by a margin of 2.26 lakh votes. In the 2009 elections, on the Udhampur seat Congress party's, Lal Singh, had bagged 2.31 lakh votes against 2.18 lakh votes of BJP's Nirmal Singh. On the Jammu seat, Congress party's Madan Lal Sharma had got 3.8 lakh votes against 2.6 lakh votes of BJP's Leela Karan Sharma.

The voters in Jammu have in the past reacted sharply to the "discrimination of the region" by Kashmir based political parties. Today's results reflected a voting pattern in Jammu in which the electorate preferred BJP after Modi's hardline approach against Pakistan as well as the "rejection of an alliance" of Kashmir based political parties against the saffron party in the region.

After the 14 February attack on a CRPF convoy, Indian and Pakistan troops had resorted to heavy mortar shelling affecting the population along the border in Jammu after an aerial dogfight.

BJP general secretary Ashok Koul said that the party won both the seats in Jammu region with the support of its "strong workers base" and "efficient governance provided by Prime Minister Modi. Prime Minister Modi has been decisive in action against Pakistan even after the Uri attack and he said after the Pulwama attack that there will be no compromise on the national security"' he said.

In Kashmir, the PDP was routed and lost all the three Lok Sabha seats of Anantnag, Baramulla and Srinagar.  The highhandedness of the party in alliance with BJP deepened the indifference of the people towards the electoral process and even leading to the boycott in the party's strongholds in southern Kashmir.

While the voting was moderate in Baramulla Lok Sabha seat, there was a near boycott on Anantnag and Srinagar seats as the people observed shutdown on the call of separatists and the polling booths were largely empty as youth clashed with the forces on the roads.

The elections also marked the rise of People's Conference, the BJP's alliance partner in government, with the party's candidate from Baramulla, Raja Aijaz Ali, getting 23 percent of the 4.47 lakh votes cast in the constituency. Awami Ittehad party (AIP), leader, Er Rashid, eroded the vote share of People's Conference leading to the victory of National Conference candidate, Mohammad Akbar Lone, on Baramulla seat who won with a margin of over 29 thousand votes. Rashid got 22.5 percent votes on Baramulla seat, while PDP's, Abdul Qayoom Wani only secured 12 percent votes.

The Srinagar seat was won by former chief minister and National Conference president, Farooq Abdullah, who polled 58 percent votes against PDP's, Aga Mohsin, who got 20 percent while the People's Conference candidate got 16 percent votes from over 1.86 lakh cast in the constituency. The Congress had not fielded any candidate on the seat against Abdullah.

Congress vice president, GN Monga, said that the BJP won elections "as its campaign was divisive in nature and deepened the polarisation among voters on the religious lines." "In Kashmir, there was anger against PDP, which went against it. We had a friendly contest with the NC," he said.

Also See: Lok Sabha election results: BJP improves vote tally in Jammu strongholds, Mehbooba Mufti's PDP routed in Kashmir

Lok Sabha Election 2019: Murder of PDP's Mohammad Jamal Bhat allegedly for casting vote underlines Kashmir's grim political crisis

PDP activist injured in suspected militant attack in J&K's Kulgam succumbs to injuresr; Mehbooba Mufti, others condemns killing

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