Abdul Khaliq Bhat of Shiv Sena got just a few hundred votes from Srinagar parliamentary constituency where he stood against veteran Dr Farooq Abdullah, but it has not dampened his spirit.
Bhat is satisfied over his performance considering he fought against the National Conference patron and political stalwart Abdullah.
“I didn’t spend huge money on canvassing. It was to make people believe that parties such as Shiv Sena could contest from places such as Srinagar. We go to people with sincerity,” says Bhat, as he sat under a tree during the afternoon drizzle Thursday.
Bhat said a “shiv sainik” contesting from Srinagar against the likes of senior Abdullah “is in itself a victory for me”.
Hailing from Budgam’s Chadoora village, Bhat’s rendezvous with politics started back in 1996 when his brother was killed by unknown gunmen.
“My brother Abdul Rashid was killed on May 13, 1996 by gunmen. This sort of disillusioned me. His killers were never arrested. I was only given hollow promises,” says Bhat.
In 2008, he contested state Assembly elections on a ticket from Bahujan Samaj Party.
Bhat says regional parties such as National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party are “fooling” Kashmiri masses by racking up issues of Article 370 and Article 35-A that grants exclusive rights to permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
“These are not even issues. I have been to Maharashtra myself. There is a huge Masjid there of which there is no match in Kashmir,” Bhat said.
“Regional parties are only playing politics and presenting other parties as demons here (in Kashmir).”