Deepak Zazia from J&K
On June 30, Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti took oath as member of the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly. She won by-election from Anantnag assembly segment which fall vacant due to death of her father and former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who was iconic figure in the politics of the State.
The by-election was significant in the sense it was first popularity test for the PDP which had taken a very bold decision to stitch alliance with BJP.
Mehbooba Mufti polled 17,701 votes while her closest rival Hilal Ahmad Shah of the Congress managed just 5,616 of the over 28,500 polled on June 22, an official of the election commission told IANS here.
National Conference’s (NC) Iftikhar Hussain Misghar came a distant third with a little over 2,800 votes in the low turnout polling — 34 per cent — amid a boycott call by Kashmiri separatists and militants.
Mehbooba’s spectacular victory has frustrated anti-national forces active in the Valley. And, it was evident from the fact that on the same day when she won elections, terrorist struck in big way by martyring eight CRPF personnel.
Anantnag considered to be a stronghold of the PDP; earlier, her father
represented the constituency. It was only natural that as a logical inheritor of Mufti Saheb’s legacy she should have contested -and, won easily-in this
constituency. Mufti had a vision of inclusiveness in this diverse, communal and regionally polarised State. He
practised those convictions. Now Mehbooba has the historic burden of carrying forward that legacy.
The decisive victory margin for the first woman Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir is seen as a public endorsement of her PDP decision to continue its alliance with the right-wing BJP.
Her rivals in the NC and the Congress had made Mehbooba Mufti’s decision to continue the alliance with BJP a hallmark of their electoral campaign in Anantnag.
Mehbooba Mufti’s victory margin is double that of her father. In 2014, Sayeed won the assembly seat defeating Congress’ Shah by a margin of 6,000 votes. But the voter turnout then was 40 per cent. Her victory has also nailed malicious campaign launched by National Conference and Congress. Both the parties, which has lost ground in J&K, had unnecessary involved RSS in the electioneering to create unnecessary fear among voters.
Omar Abdullah during campaign had alleged that Mehbooba Mufti was taking directions from Nagpur (RSS headquarter).
Pradesh Congress Committee chief, Ghulam Ahmad Mir, while campaigning for party candidate, had repeatedly warned people that support to the PDP would tantamount to implementing the RSS agenda in the State.
Mir had stated in every public meetings while urging the people to defeat the designs of the RSS. He alleged the RSS was hell-bent on implementing its communal agenda not only in the State but also in the entire country. “Only the Congress can defeat the designs of the RSS and other communal forces,” he mentioned in every public meeting.
Mir had gone to such an extent that he had termed Mehbooba Mufti as joint candidate of BJP and RSS. Any support to her will be like supporting Mohan Bhagwat and Amit Shah.
Two star campaigners deputed by the Congress party, namely actor turned politician Raj Babbar and cricketer turned politician Mohammad Azharuddin had also tried to rake up sentiments of the people by dragging RSS into campaign but they too rejected by the people of Kashmir.
Post Anantnag win, Mehbooba Mufti takes oath as MLA. While addressing the Jammu & Kashmir Assembly she recalled the values and vision of her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed for the State. She said the former had set an agenda aimed at fostering peace and development in the State.
“There is an agenda, an agenda of an alliance agreed upon by the PDP and its ally. We should stick to that and follow it diligently,” she said.
She also criticised those spreading violence in the name of Islam and said, “Jo log chaaku utha kar allah o akbar kehte hain unko main Islam se nahi jodungi (Those who shout allah o akbar with swords in their hands should not be linked to Islam).” n