As final results of 2019 Lok Sabha polls are set to be announced on Thursday, political parties in J&K are awaiting outcome of the state’s six seats with bated breath.
The Lok Sabha election in the state is seen as “semi-final” before the high-stakes Assembly election.
While National Conference and Bharatiya Janta Party are hopeful of winning three seats each, Peoples Democratic Party and Peoples Conference are eyeing to win Anantnag and Baramulla parliamentary segments, respectively.
The Congress too is optimistic about winning one to two seats in the state.
Most of the observers will keenly watch the result of Anantnag parliamentary segment where former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is contesting against NC’s Hasnain Masoodi and State Congress Chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir.
“This is a crucial battle for Mehbooba Mufti. Its outcome will have impact on her party which is yet to recover from the rebellion faced by it last year,” an observer told Greater Kashmir.
In her political career of 23 years, Mehbooba has never lost an electoral battle. While Mehbooba was expected to sail through due to PDP’s cadre strength in all pockets of south Kashmir, the low voter turnout in her strongholds has put her in trouble.
“We are hopeful to win. It is a fact that we did not get impressive lead from any Assembly segment but we have secured votes from every segment,” a senior PDP leader told this newspaper.
According to observers, the voting pattern in four south Kashmir districts has made it anybody’s game.
Going by the voting pattern in Central Kashmir, four-time CM Farooq Abdullah seems to have an edge over his rivals. “Division among Shia votes coupled with modest voter turnout in areas like Chrar-i-Sharif and Kangan has benefitted NC,” the observer said.
In north Kashmir, the competition is between National Conference and Peoples Conference, even as Peoples Democratic Party and Er Rashid are also expected to walk away with a sizeable chunk of votes.
While National Conference has cadre presence in almost all segments of north Kashmir, Peoples Conference is banking on party’s loyal cadre base and influential leaders like Imran Reza Ansari and Raja Aijaz. In the past two Lok Sabha polls, PC stood a distant third.
It will also be interesting to watch the number of votes MLA Langate Er Rashid would fetch from three districts of north Kashmir.
Rashid, who managed to pull crowds during electioneering, is supported by Shah Faesal, founder of Jammu & Kashmir Peoples Movement and Ghulam Hassan Mir, chairman Democratic Party Nationalist.
In Jammu province, Congress and BJP are locked in a direct contest on both parliamentary segments.
Like Anantnag seat, anybody among the four main contenders can emerge winner on Ladakh seat.
The main contestants on the seat are Rigzin Spalbar (Congress), Jamyang Namgyal (BJP), Asgar Karbalai (independent) and Sajad Kargili (independent).