Sheikh Mudasir Amin sends a ground report about the Lok Sabha polls in south Kashmir’s Anantnag parliamentary constituency
Rafi Ahmad, 21, of village Damhal Khoshipora seemed enthusiastic to vote this time for his favourite candidate when others refrained to vote due to one or the other reasons.
The Anantnag parliamentary constituency that was a litmus test for the contestants, the former chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ghulam Ahmad Mir of Congress and Hasnain Masoodi of National Conference and even the rightwing Bhartiya Janta Party candidate Sofi Yusuf.
In the end, it turned out to be the Masoodi show.
“It is the first time I am voting and my joy knew no bounds that I am voting for my neighbor who has a history of doing great development for our area especially the Shahabad assembly constituency,” said Rafi Ahmad of village Damhal which witnessed an overall percentage of 72, the highest in any village of Anantnag parliamentary constituency.
“We have built hopes on him that he will develop the constituency which is in dire need of it,” he said.
The highest voter turnout was recorded in Noorabad-D H Pora Assembly Constituency (20 percent), Pahalgam assembly constituency (20 percent), Shahabad-Dooru assembly constituency (18 percent), Breng-Kokernag assembly constituency (17 percent), Devsar assembly constituency (15 percent) and Shangus assembly constituency (15 percent).
Hasnain Masoodi, who was fighting as a National Conference candidate got a good percentage of votes in Noorabad-DH Pora assembly constituency, a strong segment of NC candidate Sakina Itoo, Pahalgam assembly constituency, strongly held by former MLA Altaf Ahmad Kaloo, Shangus assembly constituency which again saw votes casting in his favour. He also got votes in Pampore assembly Segment, which recorded 4.65 percent for being the resident of Pampore.
However, the lowest turnout in Homshalibugh assembly constituency won by former MLA Abdul Majeed Larami, Wachi assembly constituency strongly held by former MLC Showkat Ahmad Ganie did not go in his favour.
“I will vote for NC candidate for his good service record and being a good person always,” said Munawar Ahmad, a resident of Pampore.
“During his tenure as a judge in the J&K High Court, he being a judge never discriminated between a rich and a poor. He was always helpful to us whenever we needed him,” he said.
Ghulam Ahmad Mir, another strong contestant for Anantnag parliamentary constituency got a good percentage of votes in Dooru assembly constituency formerly held by him twice as an MLA but presently held by Farooq Ahmad Andrabi of PDP.
Breng-Kokernag assembly constituency formerly held by Peerzada Muhammad Sayeed thrice but the incumbent MLA Abdul Raheem Rather belongs to PDP. Shangus assembly constituency formerly held by Gulzar Ahmad Wani of Congress and Devsar assembly constituency formerly held by Mohamad Amin Bhat of INC. If the votes would not have been divided in these assembly segments, Mir could have taken a large chunk of votes helping him win the Anantnag parliamentary constituency.
As Congress does not have any strong hold in other assembly segments of Anantnag like that of NC and PDP, it did not set a stage for him for the Anantnag parliamentary constituency.
“I have voted for Mir this time when we had seen a stepmother approach of PDP to Dooru assembly segment even when we had an MLA from PDP. The MLA was absconding for all the years and was only seen during a few rallies. His approach toward his voters was never good,” said Lateef Ahmad of Verinag. “He neither did anything for his voters nor for the Assembly Constituency.”
The lowest voter turnout was witnessed in Pulwama, Tral, Home Shalibugh, Kulgam, Wachi, Rajpora, Bijbehara, Shopian, Anantnag and Pampore assembly segments of Anantnag parliamentary constituency.
Mehbooba saw a setback as the assembly constituencies which voted her party to power either did not come to vote this time or the incumbent MLAs were not able to come up to the expectations of their segments.
“I didn’t vote as nothing has changed. The killings have not stopped and she is the one who gave enough powers to the government forces during her tenure as CM to kill and maim the Kashmiris“
The stronghold of PDP like Shopian assembly segment (2.9 percent), Bijbehara (2 percent), Wachi (1.4 percent), Rajpora (1.59 percent), Anantnag (3 percent), Tral (0.93 percent) and Pulwama assembly segments (0.64 percent) had a little turnout.
Even the Dooru assembly segment, Noorabad, DH Pora and Kokernag assembly segments had a good turnout compared to other segments but the former PDP MLAs of these segments didn’t come up to the expectations of their people.
“I didn’t vote as nothing has changed. The killings have not stopped and she is the one who gave enough powers to the government forces during her tenure as CM to kill and maim the Kashmiris,” said Ruksana of Bijbehara. “PDP-BJP alliance did more harm to Kashmiris than Jagmohan’s regime of 90s.”
The anti-incumbency factor was more evident this time against PDP, which saw a loss in the assembly segments for the part, the other reason being their “unholy alliance with BJP”.