The lone legislator holding the Red flag in J&K would not have been elected to the state assembly this time but for the migrant Pandit voters.
CPM state secretary Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami was trailing behind his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rival Nazir Ahmad Laway as the counting of votes, polled in Kulgam constituency in south Kashmir, was drawing to a close on Sunday. Laway, who was ahead by 23 votes then, triggered a panic in the communist camp. But votes of migrant Pandits, polled in distant Jammu, turned the fortunes of this two-time Left legislator.
Of the 502 migrant votes polled in Jammu, Tarigami secured 259 while Laway could get only nine. These migrant votes not only helped him to recover but also win by a slender margin of 236 votes.
On this, Tarigami told HT that for him a voter is a voter whether a Muslim or a Kashmiri Pandit. “I don't discriminate. All of them are my voters. But, my worry is that out of more than 3000 migrant votes, only 500 were polled,” he added.
Tarigami — who was first elected to the Jammu and Kashmir assembly from Kulgam constituency in 1996 and then in 2002 — said the close contest this time was due to a “nexus between Jamaat-e-Islami, the PDP and other vested elements”.