Srinagar, April 15 (TNIE): In a major setback to ruling People Democratic Party (PDP), opposition National Conference Working president and three-time Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah on Saturday won the by poll to the Srinagar parliamentary seat, which had witnessed a record low of only 7.13 percent voter turnout.
After winning the seat, Farooq demanded that Governor’s rule be imposed in Jammu and Kashmir and talks should be started with the separatist Hurriyat Conference and neighboring Pakistan.
Farooq defeated Nazir Ahmad Khan of PDP by a margin on 10776 votes.
Out of total 89883 votes polled, 88951 were found valid. Farooq polled 48555 votes while Nazir PDP got 37779 votes.
Farooq’s win is seen as a major setback for PDP and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who had taken over the reins of the state on April 4, last year following the death of her father and former CM Mufti Mohammed Sayeed on January 7, 2016.
The voting ,which was held on April 9, was marred by violence and boycott. At least eight people were killed and over 100 injured in security forces firing on protesters during clashes on polling day. Seven of the deaths had taken place in Budgam district. 100 security men also sustained injuries.
Only 7.14 percent polling was recorded in the by poll, which was the lowest for the seat in over three decades.
The by poll was necessitated after Tariq Ahmad Karra resigned from the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat and PDP in September last year to protest excesses committed by the security forces on protesters during the unrest in the Valley triggered by the killing of 21-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8, 2016.
In the 2014 parliamentary elections, Karra had defeated NC’s Farooq Abdullah. It was the first and only electoral defeat of Farooq’s.
Talking to reporters at his Gupkar residence in Srinagar after his win, Farooq demanded imposition of Governor’s rule in the State.
“Mehbooba Mufti should step down as Chief Minister immediately. The situation in the state merits imposition of Governor’s rule. There is absolutely no doubt about this”.
He also appealed to the President of India to dismiss the state government as it has failed to deliver.
“I also demand that election to the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat be held under the Governor’s rule. If it is not done then it is unlikely that people would get justice,” Abdullah said.
(The featured image at the top is that Farooq Abdullah)