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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Dec 2014

LS performance to boost PDP ahead of Assembly polls

PTI  Srinagar, May 18, 2014
First Published: 18:47 IST(18/5/2014) | Last Updated: 18:48 IST(18/5/2014)

The victory of Peoples Democratic Party candidates in all the three Lok Sabha seats in the Kashmir valley will be a big boost to the party as it prepares for the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly elections due six months later.

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The segment-wise details of votes polled for the Lok Sabha elections in the state, show that PDP stood first in 41 of the 87 Assembly seats. A political party, or a combination of parties, needs 44 seats to form a government in Jammu and Kashmir.

National Conference, which has 28 seats in the assembly now, managed to out-do the opposition candidates in just five of the 46 Assembly segments of the valley during this year's Lok Sabha elections. The tally of Congress, which has 17 MLAs, has been whittled down to 10 seats.

National Conference and Congress fought the Lok Sabha polls in a pre-poll alliance with the national party contesting the two seats of Jammu and Ladakh while the regional party fielding candidates from the three seats of the valley. Both the parties drew a blank.

BJP was on top in 27 assembly segments with major gains coming from Jammu Lok Sabha constituency where it came number one in 16 of the 20 seats.

PDP, the main Opposition party in the state with 21 assembly seats, topped all 16 assembly segments which constitute the Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency. At present, PDP represents 12 of these constituencies in the assembly.

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti became the first woman to have twice won Lok Sabha elections from Jammu and Kashmir as she defeated sitting MP Mehbooba Beg of National Conference by a margin of over 65,000 votes. She won from Anantnag in 2004 but did not contest in 2009.

The Opposition party also managed to storm the National Conference bastion of Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency, the ruling party had never lost an election from here till yesterday, as Tariq Hamid Karra upset Union minister Farooq Abdullah by a margin of over 42,000 votes.

PDP fared better than National Conference in 12 of the 15 assembly segments which make up the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat spread over Srinagar, Ganderbal and Budgam districts. At present, National Conference represents 12 segments, PDP two segments while an Independent represents one.

In Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency also, PDP managed to take number one position in 11 of the 15 assembly segments while National Conference emerged on the top in just two segments. Peoples Conference stood first in one seat while independent candidate and MLA from Langate Abdul Rashid Sheikh managed to retain his assembly seat.

Interestingly, of the two seats, where National Conference stood first, one is represented by Congress in the assembly at present.

PDP also emerged as leader in two assembly constituencies of Poonch-Haveli and Surankote in Jammu province. Although it has conceded lead in one assembly segment (Darhal), it has managed to wrest lead from National Conference in the Poonch-Haveli seat.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah yesterday admitted that the results of Lok Sabha polls will have a bearing on Assembly elections in the state which are due to be held in November- December.

He, however, expressed hope that his party will be able to bounce back as it will seek mandate of the people based on the performance of the state government over the past five and half years.

However, political observers feel that change in campaign strategy by National Conference and Congress for the state assembly elections will decide how much lost ground the two parties can gain.

If the two parties contest the elections in a pre-poll alliance, the observers believe that they will fare much better than the data thrown up by Lok Sabha polls suggests.

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