Kashmir election: BJP fields none in Geelani's bastion

  • Toufiq Rashid, Hindustan Times, Srinagar
  • Updated: Nov 22, 2014 23:56 IST

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has not fielded any candidate from Sopore constituency in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district. The party had earlier called Sopore a ‘winning seat’.

Sopore, hometown of prominent separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani, is known for its secessionist sentiment, but the saffron party was banking on votes from migrant Pandits from this area besides those in Tral, Habba Kadal and Amira Kadal constituencies across the valley.

There are over 2000 migrant Pandit votes in Sopore constituency.

But on Friday, which was the last day of filing nominations, among the 24 candidates who filed their nominations from the area none was from the saffron party.

BJP spokesman, Khalid Jehangir, said the decision not to field any candidate from Sopore was taken by the high command as they could not find a “winning candidate”.

Sopore constituency usually witnesses a poll boycott and the turnover has remained between 10 to 20 percent in the last elections.

In LS elections earlier this year, the area witnessed around 5 percent polling.

As reported by HT earlier, Sopore constituency, however, has witnessed an increase in the voters from 90,226 voters in 2008, to 1,03,777 voters. Female voters showed more interest, their number jumping from 32,282 to 43,364.

In Sopore, the contest is between National Conference's Muhammad Ashraf Ganaie, Nazir Ahmad Naiko of the People’s Democratic Party and Abdul Rashid Dar of Congress.

Ganaie, who is the sitting MLA from the area, had urged Hurriyat’s Geelani to reconsider his poll boycott call, arguing that it would benefit the BJP.

He had said that a BJP victory in the area would be given a “negative spin” by national media.

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