In the recently concluded Parliamentary polls, National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the two main regional mainstream political parties in Jammu and Kashmir, witnessed a puzzling result, totally contrary to each other. While PDP in 2014 Parliamentary election had made a complete sweep of all the three Lok Sabha seats in Kashmir, this time the party couldn’t win even a single seat from either of the three regions, north, central and south – the region which was being considered as a stronghold of the party.
In this election, Congress State President G A Mir was seen in a direct contest with PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti and. But Hasnain Masoodi, a greenhorn in J&K politics and National Conference candidate, who was not considered in the race by many, proved to be the giant-slayer, defeating Mufti from her home turf.
The loss not only means a big setback for Mehbooba, but it could have a bearing on the party too which is yet to come out of the rebellion shock fully. As Commander-in-Chief Mehbooba’s leadership could also come under question since the PDP, which had swept 2014 polls in Kashmir, winning all three seats, drew blank this time.
Contrary to this, National Conference made a strong comeback on Kashmir’s political turf winning all three parliamentary seats in the Valley. The party President and three-time chief minister, Farooq Abdullah won Srinagar parliamentary seat while Muhammad Akbar Lone was declared victorious from Baramulla and Justice (Retired) Hasnain Masoodi from Anantnag.
Most people who voted against the PDP in South Kashmir’s parliamentary constituency blamed Mehbooba for having entered into an alliance with BJP in 2014 against wishes of people and helping the rightwing party to carry out the “persecution of Kashmiris” under the ‘Operation All Out’. Most of them referred to her ‘milk-toffee’ comment wherein she blamed the children killed by troops and Police during 2016 uprising for venturing out and leading to ‘provocation’.