The election results yet again highlight the polarised nature of the political landscape and the vast differences between the State’s regions
Perhaps the biggest surprise came from Anantnag where a political novice, Hasnain Masoodi (former High Court judge), of the NC defeated State Congress chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.
South Kashmir is considered a traditional bastion of the PDP. However, since PDP’s decision to align with the BJP in 2014 to form a government in the State, its political fortunes have been facing a serious backlash.
In the Baramulla constituency, NC candidate Mohamamd Akbar Lone comfortably defeated his closest rival, Raja Aijaz Ali, of the People’s Conference by a margin of 30,233 votes. Independent candidate Engineer Rashid, who has been gaining some popularity recently, received over one lakh votes. Mr. Rashid was supported by IAS officer-turned- politician Shah Faesal. The survey found a high level of dislike for traditional parties. Three in every five respondents said they highly dislike the PDP.
The National Conference was also found to be highly disliked by 40% of the voters.
The survey also showed that 90% of the voters preferred their Kashmiri identity to a national one, while 95% were found to be of the opinion that Article 370 and 35A should not be scrapped. The National Conference had made all these as poll issues.
The verdict in the Kashmir Valley show that people have not forgiven the PDP for its alliance with the BJP.
Though Lokniti did not conduct a post-poll survey in Ladakh, a mention of the result there is due. BJP candidate Jamyang Tsering Namgayal, Chairman and Chief Executive Councillor of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, won the Ladakh seat beating Sajjad Kargili, an Independent candidate backed by the Islamiyya School, the NC, and the PDP, by 10,930 votes.
]Originally Published in The Hindu ]