Former High Court judge Hassnain Massodi of the NC, who was seen as a dark horse, emerged winner from Anantnag parliamentary seat, defeating Congress candidate and JKPCC chief GA Mir by around 7000 votes.
Interestingly, NC and Congress had entered into a pre-poll alliance with the former leaving two seats of Jammu to contest for the latter.
In turn, Congress had left Srinagar seat for NC.
However, both parties fielded their candidates on Anantnag and Baramulla seats terming the contest as “friendly fight”, which however, did not prove to be friendly at all.
While Masoodi secured 40180 votes, Mir and Mehbooba Mufti respectively got 33504 votes and 30524 votes.
With her party yet to recover from a rebellion that led to desertion of a few legislators, Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday tasted her first electoral defeat from southern Kashmir in her 23-year-long political career.
She had won all six previous elections from southern Kashmir—two Parliament and rest assembly.
The only time she had lost an election was in 1999 when she was defeated by her archrival Omar Abdullah in the Lok Sabha polls from Srinagar seat.
Her first electoral victory was in assembly elections of 1996 on Congress ticket from Bijbehara, her home constituency.
Later, on she went on to win five consecutive elections starting from Pahalgam assembly seat in 2002, followed by Anantnag Lok Sabha in 2004, Wachi assembly seat in 2008, Anantnag LS seat again in 2014 and finally 2016 by-elections from Anantnag assembly seat.
However, this time around, she stood a distant third.
The overall turnout for Anantnag Lok Sabha seat had remained a dismal 8 per cent with Anantnag district recording the highest 13 percent and Pulwama, the lowest 1.51 percent.
Kulgam and Shopian districts had witnessed 10 and 2.44 percent polling respectively.
With low voter turnout NC, Congress, and PDP were all banking on their strongholds. And the bulk of the voting did indeed happen in these pockets such as Larnoo in Kokernag; Kapran in Dooru; Chatergul in Shangus; Khovripora area in Pahalgam; DH Pora in Noorabad; Chitragam in Wachi and Khrew in Pampore assembly segments where moderate to a good number of votes were polled.
The voting results suggest that PDP did not do well in any of these pockets, giving edge to its rivals NC and Congress.
The party’s defeat in its once stronghold, political pundits believe, would have a huge bearing on its political future.
A political analyst said that a defeated Mehbooba would have an uphill task of keeping her flock together in the run up to Assembly polls in J&K.
“The party since its formation in 1999 was going from strength to strength till 2015 when it entered into an alliance with BJP. After South and later North, it had made inroads into Central Kashmir too. But now the party is nowhere in the race in North and Central Kashmir. It has lost its grip over South Kashmir too,” an analyst said.