Mega win for Aga Ruhullah Mehdi as Srinagar reposes faith in NC - Hindustan Times
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Mega win for Aga Ruhullah Mehdi as Srinagar reposes faith in NC

ByAshiq Hussain, Srinagar
Jun 05, 2024 09:24 AM IST

Srinagar has long been a bastion of NC where its founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah would draw huge crowds

Boycott or no boycott, Srinagar voters have reposed their faith in the National Conference (NC).

NC’s Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi showing a victory sign after winning the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat. (AP)
NC’s Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi showing a victory sign after winning the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat. (AP)

NC leader Aga Ruhullah Mehdi defeated Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Waheed Para by over 1.88 lakh votes. Mehdi garnered 3.56 lakh votes (52.8%) while Para managed 1.68 lakh votes (24.9%). Both the leaders were a favourite among youth, particularly over their campaigning for Article 370 and resources of J&K. But in the end NC’s legacy did the trick while PDP’s earlier coalition with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) drew the anger of Srinagar residents.

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Srinagar has long been a bastion of NC where its founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah would draw huge crowds. Since 1984, the NC has represented Srinagar 10 times except in 2014 and 1996. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, which witnessed a dismal polling figure of 14.4%, NC president Farooq Abdullah had emerged from Srinagar parliamentary constituency.

Although the seat was changed after delimitation with addition of Shopian segment and four segments of Pulwama from south Kashmir and deletion of two segments in Budgam, the party once again won the seat when the people voted overwhelmingly.

Earlier, the critics used to attribute NC’s win to the low turnouts among the continuous boycotts.

Expressing gratitude on his win, Agha Ruhullah Mehdi said, “A big thank you to the people of Srinagar, Pulwama, Ganderbal, Shopian and Budgam for this mandate and faith in me. I am humbled and I am aware of the responsibility that this mandate brings with it. You have spoken democratically and spoken against the decisions of August 5, 2019.”

“From here on it is my responsibility to take your voice to the Parliament. Rest assured, I will represent your sentiments and struggle for the return of our dignity and rights with complete sincerity,” he added.

After decades the Srinagar city not only saw a high decibel campaign but also night campaign which was missing since the emergence of terrorism in J&K. With no boycott call this time, the people voted in good numbers, which many said was a manifestation of the anger against the current regime since 2019.

During the campaigning, former secretary of J&K sports council and PDP’s Lok Sabha candidate Waheed Para, had urged people to break their silence to send a message to New Delhi that they should not take Kashmir’s silence as its happiness.

Though his electric campaigning managed to gain a good chunk of votes for PDP from central Kashmir even after many of the leaders deserting the party after 2019. This may help the party in coming assembly elections.

“Kashmiris, after years of silence, have boldly spoken out through their votes for the first time - to break the cycle of silence and to reclaim voice. Congratulations to Ruhullah Mehdi sb, Er Rashid sb & Mia Altaf sb on their victory. Thanking Mehbooba Mufti Ji and JKPDP supporters for all the help,” Para said, accepting his defeat humbly.

The social media was also abuzz with the results.

“Congratulations, finally my vote counted . Hope for development, release of innocents from jail, betterment, equality, justice and increase in job opportunities for youth of Kashmir. Goodluck Ruhullah Mehdi,” said a social media user Mir Afsha on ‘X’.

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