Ghulam Nabi Azad, Farooq bite the dust

Omar takes blame
Chief Minister and National Conference’s acting president Omar Abdullah owned responsibility for the coalition’s reverses. “I accept, unequivocally, the responsibility for this defeat. A lot of introspection & soul searching, personally & professionally, needed,” he said on Twitter. “Victory & defeat are part of any contest but if lessons aren’t learnt from defeat victory becomes an impossible task. I will learn from this.”

SRINAGAR (TIP): In the most surprising electoral results for several decades in Jammu & Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah’s National Conference (NC) has been wiped out by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s People’s Democratic Party in the Lok Sabha. The PDP, which is strongly placed with control over 12 of the 16 Assembly segments in South Kashmir, bagged not only Anantnag but also both the remaining seats of Srinagar and Baramulla. The PDP also trounced the NC in the strongest of its bastions in Kangan, Charar-e- Sharif, Noorabad, Handwara, Kupwara and Sumbal.

While the PDP established a lead in as many as 39 Assembly segments, the NC maintained the edge in just the five segments of Khanyar, Amirakadal, Habbakadal, Gurez and Uri. Independents Engineer Rashid and Salamuddin Bajad stood first in Langet and Handwara, respectively. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti defeated the NC’s incumbent Mehboob Beg in Anantnag with a margin of 44,735 votes. She polled 1,42,237 against Beg’s 97,502.

Ms Mufti had won her first Lok Sabha election in the same constituency in 2004, but Beg was returned in 2009. In Srinagar, the PDP’s Tariq Hamid Karra defeated Union Minister and former Chief Minister and NC’s patriarch, Farooq Abdullah, with a margin of 42,280 votes. With this, NC has for the first time, lost its impregnable bastion in the Valley. Karra polled 1,57,923 votes and Dr. Abdullah 1,15,643. PDP’s Muzaffar Hussain Baig defeated Shariefuddin Shariq of the NC with a margin of 29,219 votes in Baramulla. Baig polled 1,75,277 against Mr. Shariq’s 1,46,058 votes.

The separatist-turned-mainstream People’s Conference-sponsored Salam-uddin Bajad polled 71,154 votes while the independent MLA Engineer Rashid secured 22,090 votes. In Ladakh, the BJP’s Thustan Chhewang defeated independent candidate Ghulam Raza with a paltry margin of 36 votes. Chhewang got 31,111 and the Imam Khomeini Memorial Trust-sponsored Raza 31,075 votes.

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The BJP also won both seats in the Jammu province where its MLA Jugal Kishore polled a huge 6,19,995 votes, defeating the Congress’ Madan Lal Sharma with a margin of 2,56,950 votes in Jammu. In Udhampur, the BJP’s debutant Jitendra Singh defeated the Congress’s high-profile candidate and Union Cabinet Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad with a margin of 60,976 votes. While Dr. Singh polled 4,87,369 votes, Azad trailed with 4,26,393.

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