LS polls, Srinagar: ‘One can’t expect long queues of voters’

Srinagar: Thirteen candidates, including a woman, will try their luck in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections from Srinagar parliamentary constituency, where real battle amid expectations of poll boycott will be between ruling National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Tariq Hamid Karra.
Besides senior Abdullah and Karra, 11 more candidates have joined the fray. Seven among them are fighting the elections independently. The 11 other candidates are: Mirza Sajad Hussain, Abdul Rashid Tantray, Riyaz Ahmad Wani, Bashir Mohammad Reshi, Chetan Sharma, Aga Syed Mohsin, Rabia Altaf, (all Independents), and Raja Muzaffar Bhat of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Panthers Party’s Mohammad Maqbool Malik, Akhil Bhartiya Muslim League’s Mushtaq Shamim, and Mohammad Shafi Guroo of Jai Prakash Janta Dal.
However, the real battle will be between Abdullah and Karra, according to observers.
“Obviously, the competition will be between Farooq Abdullah and Tariq Karra. Farooq Abdullah has certain advantages over his nearest rival. He has a certain stature. He has a personal profile. I don’t think there is a triangular contest,” says Prof Gul Wani, a political analyst and Director of Kashmir University’s Institute of Kashmir Studies.
Wani said that many factors will come into play during the elections, like the actual presence of the political parties in the field, the party in power and opposition.
“Competition is for those candidates who have organizational strength. Those organizations which have grass root support base, who can mobilize voters, who can somehow go for networking build up and make smaller alliances. And ultimately make those constituents to move out and vote for a particular candidate,” Wani told Kashmir Reader.
Prof Nasir Mirza, who teaches at the Media Education Research Centre (MERC) of Kashmir University, said that apart from main Srinagar, the impact of election boycott will not make much impact in other areas of the Srinagar parliamentary constituency “in the changed circumstances.”
“Srinagar has a long history. It has been the centre of resistance. It is known in the pro-freedom circles. One can’t expect long queues of voters outside booths,” Mirza said, adding, “However, the young voters can throw unexpected surprises.”