With the overall voter turnout in the first of the three-phase polling in Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency settling below 10 per cent till 1 p.m. on Tuesday, the fate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti hangs precariously in the balance in what was till recently her party’s bastion.
The bad news for Mufti is that voters in her ancestral townBijbehara and the neighbouring Anantnag showed very little interest to come outand join the poll process.
Mufti won this Lok Sabha seat in 2014 and resigned in 2016to become the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir following the death of herfather, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed.
She later won the 2016 bypoll for the Anantnag Assembly seatto get elected to the 87-member state legislative Assembly. Anantnag Assemblyseat fell vacant due to Mufti Senior’s death in 2016.
In contrast to the less than 3 per cent voter turnout inBijbehara and Anantnag segments that have traditionally been PDP strongholds,the turnout has been good in Dooru, Kokernag and Shangus segments where herCongress rival, Ghulam Ahmad Mir has strong voter support.
The voter turnout has also been good in the Pahalgamsegment, but it is believed that the PDP and the National Conference (NC) wouldcut almost equally here, again giving an edge to the Congress candidate.
Voting will be held in Kulgam district of the constituencyon April 29 and in Shopian and Pulwama districts on May 6 and the voter turnoutin these remaining districts may make or mar the electoral prospects of the PDPPresident.