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Farooq Abdullah pulls out all stops to retain Srinagar Lok Sabha seat

The National Conference is all out to retain the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat and its adjoining districts with NC president and party’s Srinagar candidate Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah addressing series of rallies in the city and its outskirts.

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 16, 2019 14:11 IST
Mir Ehsan
Mir Ehsan
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
lok sabha elections 2019,farooq abdullah,srinagar lok sabha seat
National Conference president and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah speaks during an election campaign in Srinagar on April 15, 2019. Abdullah is the NC candidate from Srinagar Lok Sabha seat. (AFP)

Srinagar has been the bastion of the National Conference for decades and it was a herculean task to beat the oldest regional party on its own turf despite low polling turnout in 2014 Lok Sabha polls. However, for the first time since its formation in 1999, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) managed to register its win on the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat when party candidate Tariq Karra defeated NC leader Farooq Abdullah.

Five years down the line, the political situation has completely changed. The PDP suffered one jolt after another when senior party leaders and legislators left the party. Tariq Karra also resigned from the party soon after 2016 agitation and joined the Congress. The NC wrestled back the seat in by-elections in 2017, with more than 10,000 votes in a violence ridden polling which witnessed mere 7.6% polling.

Now the NC is all out to retain the Srinagar seat and its adjoining districts with NC president Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah addressing series of rallies in the city and its outskirts. They have managed to galvanisethe party cadres as well.

Read | Srinagar constituency in Jammu and Kashmir witnessing third election in five years

Addressing one such rally at SK Park on Monday, NC president Farooq Abdullah said,“Never in my life, I am going with Modi or the BJP. Please come out to vote. When you people stay away from polling, you are aware how things are manipulated.”

The senior leader also praised his son Omar and told the gathering that he could safeguard the destiny of his people in his absence as well. Both father son duo has been launching scathing attacks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP, even raising questions over Pulwama attack and Balakot strike. The NC workers also held a boat rally on the Dal Lake to woo voters living in the interiors of the Dal.

Farooq Abdullah, 85, is seeking another Lok Sabha term. The victory on Srinagar seat could also set the tune for next assembly elections, which could be held any time after the Lok Sabha polls. The constituency spread over three districts – Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal – with 12.95 lakh electorates.

For Srinagar, 12 candidates are in a fray. However, it could be a triangular contest between Farooq Abdullah (NC), Irfan Ansari (Peoples Conference) and Agha Mohsin (PDP), with NC patriarch Farooq Abdullah holding an edge over his rivals.

Also Read | NC president Farooq Abdullah files nomination from Srinagar

For complete coverage of Lok Sabha Elections 2019, click here

First Published: Apr 16, 2019 14:09 IST