Independent candidate Engineer Rashid has surprised everyone with his splendid performance in the parliamentary elections of 2019. He secured 102168 votes and rose to no. 3 position in Baramulla, trailing by just 1025 votes to Peoples Conference candidate Raja Ajaz Ali who got 103193 votes.
The total vote share Rashid obtained is 22.4 percent while the PC candidate’s vote share was 22.88 percent.
Rashid, who heads the Awami Itihad Party constituted in 2013, participated first time in the assembly elections as an independent candidate in 2008. Rashid has represented Langate assembly constituency several times.
Though his party AIP has no strong presence in several assembly segments of Baramulla district, he has received overwhelming response in several areas of both Baramulla and Kupwara districts.
Rashid surprised with his performance in assembly segments of Uri, Gulmarg, Karnah, Langate and Baramulla where he left behind all the major political parties like National Conference, Congress, Peoples Conference and Peoples Democratic Party. In Uri assembly segment which has been traditionally a stronghold of National Conference and Congress and is also home town of Peoples Conference candidate Raja Ajaz Ali, Rashid came out with flying colours and secured highest number of votes – 13652 – while NC, Congress, PC and PDP managed to get 10395, 9518, 8407, 488 respectively.
If the results are taken into account, Rashid is likely to throw a major challenge to traditional political parties at least in north Kashmir.
“The performance of Engineer Rashid shows there is considerable acceptance of his political ideology and if he manages to restructure his organisation he is likely to emerge as a strong force,” said a political analyst.
A first-time voter Naseer Ahmad from Uri said that youths unlike their elders are not stuck to a particular ideology. He said there is definitely change on ground and whosoever comes up with a decisive policy on Kashmir or shows his commitment like raising Kashmir issue would get vote from youths.
“I have been able to strike the conscience of over one lakh people and I am waiting to strike the conscience of every Kashmiri,” Rasheed said.
“It is a lesson to those who harass Engineer Rashid over his political ideology. They must realise that I have the people’s mandate,” he asserted.