Dr Farooq Abdullah can’t even afford to take a victory lap in downtown Srinagar

Farooq Abdullah wins Srinagar Lok Sabha by-poll. With just 7% voting, is this a popular vote?

Farooq Abdullah wins Srinagar Lok Sabha by-poll. With just 7% voting, is this a popular vote? Does it have any meaning?
Is this a meaningless win for Dr. Abdullah?

Will he thank ‘Nationalist’ stone pelters?

Three time former Chief Minister and former Union Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah Saturday won by-polls from Srinagar Parliamentary seat.

But instead of taking a victory lap in his Parliamentary constituency to celebrate the most crucial election of his long political career he had to jostle with party leaders and jubilant supporters inside the four walls of party office.

Ironically, he failed to muster majority votes of migrant Kashmir pandits.

He dare not step out and visit downtown Srinagar, famous for notorious stone pelters whom he kept defending during his entire election campaign.

In a closely watched election Dr Abdullah defeated his nearest rival from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Nazir Ahmed Khan with a margin of over 10,000 votes. Dr Abdullah won 4 per cent of total votes polled….the constituency had over 12 lakh votes.

Dr Farooq Abdullah managed to secure 48,555 votes while the PDP candidate Nazir Ahmed Khan got 37,779 votes.

Ironically, he failed to muster majority votes of migrant Kashmir pandits.

Out of the total 974 migrant votes polled, 952 votes were found valid. Out of these Dr Abdullah polled 184 votes and PDP candidate polled 703 votes.

Lowest voter turnout recorded in By-polls

Statistically, the lowest ever voter turn out of 7.14 percent was recorded during the by-polls which witnessed poll violence across different polling booths. At least eight people were killed and several other received injuries.

Even on the day of victory one youth lost his life after security forces opened fire on protestors in Batmaloo area of Srinagar.

During the poll campaign Dr Farooq Abdullah was seen blatantly defending the stone-pelting youth in the Valley, saying they are fighting for the nation and for the resolution of the Kashmir issue as per the wishes of its people.

Now the question arises as to whether Dr Farooq Abdullah afford to take a victory lap in downtown Srinagar to thank all his supporters and voters including those stone pelters who were terrorising voters and preventing them from participating in the poll process.

According to Chief Electoral Officer (J&K) more than 200 incidents of violence, mostly in Budgam district, which included stone-pelting, petrol bomb attacks, setting ablaze of a polling station, some vehicles and attempt to burn another two polling booths were recorded on the polling day.

The violence in Kashmir followed a separatist call to boycott the by-election.

According to them the situation was not conducive to hold a democratic exercise after last year’s unprecedented public unrest triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant commander Burhan Wani.

Polling staff too had abandoned almost 70% of booths in Budgam district because of the violent protests. During repoll across 38 polling booths only 2 per cent voter turn out was recorded.

In his victory speech, Dr. Abdullah demands Governor’s Rule

National Conference President Farooq Abdullah on Saturday demanded the imposition of Governor’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir after he won the Srinagar by-poll by a margin of over 10,000 votes.

Abdullah appealed to the President Pranab Mukherjee to impose Governor’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir “I want to thank people who voted for me. They have clearly rejected People’s Democratic Party,” Farooq told reporters at NC headquarter Nawa-e-Subh here.

He also appealed president of India to dismiss the state government as it has “failed to deliver”.

“I will secure the Article 370 and my win is dedicated to the people of Kashmir. I will also talk to all stakeholders to find a solution for the Kashmir issue,” he added.

Worst election of my political career

Dr Farooq Abdullah admitted that this was the “worst election” in history as it witnessed unprecedented bloodshed. “No doubt I have won but we have lost precious lives, that’s why we are not happy with this win. Yet I dedicate my victory to the people who rejected the divisive politics of PDP-BJP combine,” he said.

The by-polls was necessitated by the resignation of a sitting MP of the ruling PDP Tariq Hameed Karra who resigned from both the party and Parliament in protest against its forging an alliance with ideologically-divergent BJP to form a coalition government in the State.

He has since joined the Congress which had supported Abdullah’s candidature in lieu of its backing the J&K PCC chief and Congress candidate for Anantnag by-poll Ghulam Ahmed Mir.


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