Srinagar: It is a fractured mandate in Jammu and Kashmir, with both the BJP and the National Conference winning three seats each.
While the NC got three seats in Kashmir — Anantnag, Srinagar and Baramulla, the BJP won two seats in the Jammu region and the lone seat in Ladakh. The BJP had won the same number of seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections as well but it is the NC that has gained three seats compared to zero last time.
The biggest loser in Kashmir so far appears to be the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). PDP president and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti was contesting from Anantnag, which has remained a party bastion. But the results startled all experts, with Mufi finishing third.
The Anantnag seat was won by National Conference’s Hasnain Masoodi, who was fighting his debut election. He was followed by Congress state president GA Mir.
As per the latest available data, Masoodi got 40,032 (32.59%) votes and Mir 32,879 (26.76%) votes. Mufti could only secure 30,223 (24.6%) votes.
In the last election, Mufti had won parliamentary elections from the same seat.
Former chief minister and stalwart Farooq Abudllah won from Srinagar, securing 1,06,731 (57.12%) votes. The next was the PDP’s Aga Syed Mohsin, who picked up 19% of the votes.
NC’s senior leader and former J&K state assembly speaker Akbar Lone won from Baramulla, securing 1,31,869 (29.52%) votes. He was in close fight with Peoples Conference candidate Raja Aijaz Ali and independent candidate Er Rasheed. They both secured 22% of the votes.
The PDP has performed extremely poorly in all the three seats in the Kashmir valley.
In Jammu, it is a crushing defeat for the Congress, which was also supported by the PDP and the NC.
In Ladakh, while neither NC nor PDP fielded candidates, both supported independent candidate Sajad Hussain. But the BJP’s Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, as per the latest updates, was leading by 10,850 votes. Namgyal got 34% of the vote share while Hussain managed 24%.
Abdullah later told reporters that Parliament will not be easy.
“There are several important issues with respect to J&K, because we have to fight them on their intention to do away with the Article 370 and 35A. Another issue is that they want to divide Muslims and Hindus in the country; we have to fight that as well,” he said.
Mehbooba Mufti, who accepted the verdict with humility, said the people of the state have every right to be angry with her.
“I’ve been fortunate to get the love and affection of my people. They have every right to express their anger for my failings. I’m grateful to my party workers and colleagues,” she said on Twitter.