Srinagar Bypoll: Farooq Abdullah Wins, Asks for CM Mufti’s Removal

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The electoral fate of nine candidates, including National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, was decided on Saturday with counting of votes for the bypoll to Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency. And Abdullah, whose only electoral defeat has come in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, emerged as the winner in the key contest. He was locked in a direct contest with ruling PDP’s Nazir Ahmad Khan.

Addressing the media after his win, he said:

I want to thank people who supported me. This was the bloodiest election ever. The results show that people are in favour of the National Conference.

He also asked for Mehbooba Mufti’s removal as the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir.

I request the Government of India and the President to dismiss the present state government right away.

He further called for the governor’s rule to be imposed in the state.

Also Read: Bullets, Blood, Boycott: How Kashmiri Media Read Srinagar Bypoll

Low Voter Turnout in Key Contest

The counting of votes began at Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) in Srinagar on Saturday at 8:00 am, an election official said. The counting of migrant votes will simultaneously take place in Jammu, Udhampur and New Delhi, the official said.

The bypoll to Srinagar Lok Sabha seat was held on 9 April, with the constituency recording its lowest voter turnout of 7.13 percent.

Also Read: “Why We Didn’t Vote in the Bypolls”: Srinagar Speaks Up

The polling day was also marred by violence which left eight people dead and scores of others, including security personnel, injured in clashes with stone-pelting protesters.

The Election Commission conducted a repoll on 38 polling stations on Thursday which were worst hit by the poll day violence.

The repoll saw an abysmal turnout of two percent.

State Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Shantmanu on Friday visited SKICC to review the arrangements made for the counting of votes.

Official SpokespersonThe CEO inspected strong room and counting centres and received a detailed briefing of the arrangements. He was accompanied by returning officer and Srinagar’s district electoral officer, observers and other officers concerned.

Shantmanu said that besides the presence of observers, the entire counting will be video-graphed.

The CEO inspected the counting halls established for each of the assembly segments, and was briefed about the security arrangements inside and outside the venue.

During his visit to the media centre, the CEO also directed the officials to provide full assistance to the media fraternity in disseminating the news.

Also Read: In Photos: 8 Deaths, Protests Cast Shadow Over Srinagar Bypolls

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