Omar, Mehbooba Both on Losing Side, Kashmir Also Rejects Parties Seen as Linked to BJP

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NC leader trails to jailed Engineer Rashid, Mehbooba to prominent Gujjar leader by huge margins

SRINAGAR — In Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, both former CMs, are trailing from Baramulla and Anantnag-Rajouri, respectively, till 1.45 pm.

While Mufti, who is the president of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is trailing the National Conference’s Gujjar leader Mian Altaf by over two lakh votes, Omar is in for a surprise from jailed Independent Sheikh Abdul Rashid, popularly known as Engineer Rashid, Indian Express reported.

With close to half the votes counted, Omar, who is also the vice-president of the National Conference, is behind Rashid by over one lakh votes. With Rashid lodged in Tihar jail in an alleged money laundering case, his campaign was run by his 23-year-old son, Abrar Rashid.

Omar’s campaign in Baramulla revolved around the abrogation of the state’s special status, statehood and development, while Rashid’s son candidly asked for votes to get his father released from Tihar. Rashid’s campaign, based on a separatist sentiment, appears to have resonated with the youth and first-time voters, as well as women voters.

Conceding that he is headed for a loss, a magnanimous Omar Abdullah posted on X: “I think it’s time to accept the inevitable. Congratulations to Engineer Rashid for his victory in North Kashmir. I don’t believe his victory will hasten his release from prison nor will the people of North Kashmir get the representation they have a right to but the voters have spoken and in a democracy that’s all that matters.”

At third position is Sajad Lone of the Peoples Conference.

In Anantnag-Rajouri, Mufti is staring at a loss in the hands of the NC’s Altaf. While it was expected to be a close contest, Altaf, who wields massive influence among the Gujjar community, has managed a massive lead.

Mufti too conceded defeat in a post on X, where she wrote: “Respecting the verdict of the people I thank my PDP workers & leaders for their hard work & support despite all the odds. My deepest gratitude to the people who voted for me. Winning & losing is part of the game & wont deter us from our path. Congratulations to Mian sahab for his victory.”

The other political parties like Sajad Lone’s Peoples Conference, Altaf Bukhari’s Apni Party and Ghulam Nabi Azad’s Democratic Azad Party, have failed to make a mark, despite open or tacit support from the BJP.

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