Abdullahs in tight spot as PDP enters assembly elections with numbers, psychological edge

  • Peerzada Ashiq, Hindustan Times, Srinagar
  • Updated: May 16, 2014 23:21 IST

With all the three parliamentary seats from the Kashmir Valley in its kitty, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is armed with psychological edge over voters, opponents equally and favourable numbers just six months ahead of the scheduled 87-member assembly polls in the state. The PDP, emerging as a major political force just 12 years ago, received a shot in the arm from two otherwise uncharted territories of Srinagar, which has eight assembly segments, and Jammu's Poonch and Rajouri assembly segments.

For the first time ever, PDP candidate not only defeated National Conference (NC) stalwart Farooq Abdullah, who lost for the first time ever, in Srinagar city but the margin of 42,000 is psychologically devastating for the ruling NC and its cadre.

Abdullah's brother, Mustafa Kamal, who represents Hazratbal assembly constituency, also saw conceding ground to the PDP. Even the long nurtured constituency of Sonawar, described as a safe seat of the Abdullahs, has the PDP leading in the parliament polls. All NC stalwarts in the city except for Habba Kadal constituency have put up a poor show.

From losing with 30,000 votes in 2009, the PDP not only bridged the gap this time but spiked vote share by around 70,000 votes in Srinagar parliament seat.

Of eight assembly segments, the party showed lead in at least six assembly segments in Srinagar.

Similarly, the PDP opened an account in Jammu region with 1,68,554 votes and emerged number three. Given the significant vote share, the PDP can translate it into assembly seats from Rajouri and Poonch for the first time.

"We have emerged as a pan regional party with Jammu also voting for us significantly," said PDP president Mehbooba Mufti.

The NC is also facing a rout in both south and north Kashmir. Of 31 assembly segments there, the PDP, with 12 MLAs from south presently, has increased their vote share significantly there. In north, the PDP has surprised with its lead in Karnah and Lolab assembly constituencies, besides gaining a vote share in assembly segments represented by the PDP leaders.

The PDP not only crossed the 60,000-vote defeat margin of the 2009 parliamentary polls but won by a thumping majority of around 30,000 votes in Baramulla. The PDP has also shown significant rise in vote share in Ganderbal, Kangan and several Central Kashmir's Budgam district's assembly segments.

The voting trend, as per the vote share now, should sail the PDP in the assembly polls with thumping majority without any alliance.
The Abdullahs are set to face the most embarrassing assembly polls of their lifetimes later this year unless they have a magic wand and do course correction to change the new-founded groundswell against the party.

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