Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday filed her nomination papers for the bypoll in south Kashmir’s Anantnag assembly seat, the result of which will be a turning point to determine the political future of the PDP after its alignment with BJP.
The seat fell vacant on January 7, with the death of Mehbooba’s father and the then chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who represented the area in 2008 and 2014 assembly elections consecutively.
Mehbooba will be facing rival National Conference’s leader Iftikar Misger and independent candidate Engineer Abdul Rasheed in the polls. Both the leaders also filed their nomination papers on Wednesday. The Congress will be represented by Hilal A Shah.
After filing her nomination papers, Mehbooba expressed hope that people would give her a chance like they did when they “reposed faith” in her father.
Mehbooba is currently representing south Kashmir’s Anantnag constituency in the Parliament. Winning the bypolls is a necessity for her as she has to become either a member of the state assembly or its council within the mandatory period of six months from her swearing-in as CM on April 04.
The results of the bypoll will also reveal whether or not the people of south Kashmir, who have traditionally backed PDP, have accepted the party’s alliance with the BJP.
“The polls are a litmus test for Mehbooba and her party after aligning with BJP. Her loss or win will determine the course of her party’s political future,” said Rashid Ahmad, veteran journalist and political analyst.