CM Mehbooba wins Anantnag by-polls with thumping margin

Srinagar: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday won the Anantnag Assembly by-polls seat by a thumping margin of 12,085 votes. Mehbooba defeated her rival Hilal Shah of Congress.

Of 28,500 polled votes, Mehbooba secured 17,701 votes, while Shah secured 5,616. National Conference’s (NC) candidate Iftikhar Misger stood a distant third with 2,811 votes.

The PDP’s winning margin has considerably gone up in Anantnag despite NC and Congress ruining an anti-BJP campaign and cornering Mehbooba for allying with the rightwing party.

In the 2014 polls, Late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed Sayeed defeated Congress candidate Shah by 6,000 votes and the margin has doubled this year with 12,085.

However, the NC and Congress alleged EVM tampering.

“A lot of EVMs in Anantnag were without mandatory seals/locks. Electoral staff says since teachers were incharge, their inexperience is the reason,” NC spokesman Junaid Azim Mattu alleged.

Mattu, however, congratulated Mehbooba for her victory.

Congress candidate Hilal Shah also alleged that EVM machines were tempered.

But District Magistrate Syed Abid Rasheed Shah refuted the allegations of tampering of EVMs.

Elections on June 22 were necessitated in Anantnag constituency due to the death of Mehbooba Mufti’s father and former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7 this year.

The total number of registered voters in the Anantnag assembly segment is 84,067 — 42,840 males and 41,227 females, an official spokesperson said, adding that there were 102 polling stations in the constituency.

But only Around 28,500 voters participated in the election, with poll percentage pegged at 34 per cent, down by five per cent compared to the 2014 Assembly polls amidst separatists’ boycott call.

Counting started at 8 am today and media was not allowed to enter the counting centre.
Today’s win is Mehbooba’s fourth to the Assembly from south Kashmir since 1996, when she started her political career as Congress candidate and contested from Bijbehara constituency.

She was also elected to the Lok Sabha from Anantnag Parliament seat in 2014 general elections but returned to the State politics in April this year to take over as the State’s chief minister after her father’s demise. (KNS)

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