Mehbooba wins by 12,000 votes in Anantnag

In the 2014 polls, Mr. Sayeed defeated Congress candidate Mr. Shah by 6,000 votes and the margin has doubled this year.

June 25, 2016 01:44 pm | Updated December 04, 2021 11:02 pm IST - Srinagar

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday won in the Anantnag Assembly by-election by 12,085 votes, proving that her popularity remains unaffected by her PDP’s decision to ally with the BJP.

Of the 28,500 votes cast, Ms. Mufti polled 17,701. Hilal Shah of the Congress polled 5,616 votes and Iftikhar Misger of the National Conference 2,811. “I salute the people of Anantnag for having shown immense political maturity, steering clear of the propaganda by the Opposition, and having voted for the PDP in large numbers,” PDP chief spokesperson Mehboob Beg said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated Ms. Mufti.

“Congratulations to J&K Chief Minister Ms. Mufti for the phenomenal victory in the Anantnag Assembly by-election,” Mr. Modi tweeted. Mr. Singh called her up.

The PDP’s winning margin has doubled in Anantnag, though the National Conference and the Congress pegged their campaign on the anti-BJP wave and cornered Ms. Mufti over the PDP’s alliance with the BJP. In the 2014 elections, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, father of Ms. Mehbooba, defeated Mr. Shah of the Congress by 6,000 votes.

Earlier in the day, the counting was stopped immediately after the first round was declared as Mr. Shah and his supporters left the counting hall, alleging that an Electronic Voting Machine was not properly sealed and the votes polled in it should not be counted. But the counting resumed after 15 minutes.

The NC also alleged tampering. “A lot of EVMs in Anantnag were without mandatory seals/locks. Election officials blamed it on the inexperience of teachers in charge of the machines,” NC spokesman Junaid Azim Mattu said. But, he later congratulated Ms. Mufti on her victory. District Magistrate Syed Abid Rasheed Shah denied the charges.

Anantnag fell vacant after Mufti Muhammad Sayeed died on January 7.

Considered bastion of the PDP, it’s Ms. Mufti’s fourth win to the State Assembly from south Kashmir since 1996, when she started her political career as Congress candidate and contested from Bijbehara constituency.

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