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In Kashmir, winter-time rivals sail through together

Months after the state was divided on religious and regional lines after the Amarnath clashes, voters punished the politicians who stoked the divide, reports Arun Joshi.

india Updated: May 17, 2009 03:04 IST
Arun Joshi

The National Conference (NC) and the Congress won five of the six seats in J&K, but the losers who told the larger story.

Months after the state was divided on religious and regional lines after the Amarnath clashes, voters punished the politicians who stoked the divide.

The surprise candidate of the election, separatist Sajjad Ghani Lone, lost from the Baramullah constituency, finishing http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/images/j&k_seats.jpgthird.

The winners included former CM Farooq Abdullah (Srinagar), Sharief-ud-din Shariq (Baramullah) and Mehboob Beg (Anantnag) — all from the NC, and the Congress’s Madan Lal Sharma and Lal Singh from Jammu and Udhampur, respectively.

In Kashmir, the losers included all candidates of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), whose minister endorsed the decision to shift the Amarnath land from state to central control – and later called the move hegemonistic. That evoked a furious anti-India movement in the state. In Jammu, Leela Karan Sharma, a BJP candidate who led a violent counter movement against Kashmiris was also defeated.

It was a huge change from the Assembly results, in which the PDP won 19 seats, 12 of them from its stronghold of South Kashmir, and the BJP won 11 seats in Hindu-dominated Jammu.