Srinagar:National Conference leader and former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah has won the Srinagar Lok Sabha by-poll beating principal opponent People’s Democratic Party’s Nazir Ahmed Khan comfortably. Abdullah defeated Nazir by over 10,700 votes. After winning the election, Abdullah requested the Centre and the president to dismiss the present government and impose governor’s rule and conduct fresh elections. “I Request government of India and President to dismiss present govt right away,” ANI reported. He added governor’s rule must be imposed & elections must be “conducted under governor’s rule”.
He also thanked people of Srinagar for their support and said that the results showed people were in support of NC. “(I) thank people who supported (us). This was the bloodiest election ever. Results show that people are in favour of NC,” he said.
Though there were nine candidates in the fray, it was, to be fair, a two-way contest between the NC and PDP candidates. Abdullah, 79, was defeated in 2014 General Election from the same constituency by Tariq Hameed Karra of the PDP. However, Karra resigned recently as a mark of protest against civilian killings in Kashmir.
Abdullah has traditionally been strong in his homeground Srinagar. He was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in 1980 from Srinagar unopposed. He has a strong following in Srinagar, especially in some pockets held by minorities.
The voting in Srinagar for the bypoll held on April 9 was abysmally low with just a little over 7 per cent turnout amid boycott call by separatists and militant and widespread clashes between violent mobs and security forces. At least eight people were killed in the violence The polls were held again on Thursday for 38 polling stations and the turnout was a record low for the state–2 per cent. Only 702 voters came out to vote and many polling stations didn’t even record a single vote.
Five candidates withdrew protesting against the schedule of the re-poll. The candidates demanded a later date for holding the voting for the 38 booths. They claimed that the prevailing tension in Srinagar would not allow a free and fair election to take place.
In Anantnag, the elections were delayed till May after several polling booths–set up in schools–were set on fire by protesting mobs who raised anti-India slogans after marching inside the polling stations on Sunday. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s brother Tassaduq Hussain Mufti, PDP’s candidate in the polls, was one of the people who demanded the delay.