After its debacle in the Srinagar parliamentary by-polls, PDP will convene a meeting to discuss the reasons of its loss in the elections while the top leadership has taken a strong note of the dissensions among its leaders which is also being seen as a reason for its defeat.
The PDP will convene a meeting in next two days to discuss the poll results in which former Chief Minster and NC President, Farooq Abdullah, romped home from Srinagar parliamentary constituency, which was largely due to the PDP’s poor performance in its strongholds.
Former CM capitalized on the dissensions within the ruling party and the anger among the people over the way government handled the unrest that was triggered last year after the killing of HM militant commander, Burhan Muzafar Wani. At least 100 people died while hundreds of others were injured in the protests that continued for over seven months after the death of Burhan Wani in July last year.
A low voter turnout was witnessed on the constituencies which are held by the PDP, which has also been facing dissensions as many of its MLAs could not make it to the council of Ministers during the last cabinet expansion.
While a low turnout was witnessed in the PDP constituencies of Batmaloo, Sonwar and Hazratbal in Srinagar, NC managed to get significant votes from the constituencies of Budgam and Kangan, which was represented by its legislators.
As against near 10,000 votes polled by NC on its stronghold of Kangan constituency, PDP got only 4,200 votes, while as from its Budgam seat NC got over 8,600 votes and PDP nearly 2383 votes.
On the Kangan seat, former Forest Minister, Mian Altaf, had maintained a continuous winning streak in the 2014 assembly elections even as NC had lost on most other seats in Kashmir that had paved the way for the PDP and BJP to form the government in the state. Abdullah also polled a good percentage of votes from Budgam, where the party is represented by Shia MLA, Aga Syed Ruhulla, who bucked the antiincumbency trend against Omar Abdullah’s NC-Congress coalition government.
PDP has also been facing dissensions that lead to its debacle on the parliament seat. Former Minister for Revenue, Javed Mustafa Mir, who represents Chadoora assembly constituency as well former Minister of state for Power, Mohammad Ashraf Mir, who had defeated ex-CM and NC working president, Omar Abdullah, from Sonwar assembly segment had been critical of the government functioning after they couldn’t make it to the Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti’s, council of Ministers.
Both were the Ministers in the tenure of Mehbooba’s father, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. Also influential shia leader and MLA Zadibal, Abid Hussain Ansari, had walked out from the PDP meeting which was held before the polls to discuss the election strategy complaining about the presence of Roads and Buildings (R&B) Minister, Nayeem Akhtar, in the meeting, who was to chair the meet.
Abid’s nephew Imran Raza Ansari, had earlier resigned from the Mehbooba’s government protesting for not getting a better portfolio in the cabinet reshuffle, but later joined back the government after he was placated by CM. Zadibal MLA protested that Akhtar who didn’t represent any assembly segment should not have chaired the party meet to discuss poll strategy.
A boycott was witnessed on some PDP strongholds including Chadoora, which is believed to have been responsible for the loss of its candidate, Nazir Ahmad Khan. Sources in the PDP said that the party leadership has taken a strong note of the public criticism that some of its former Ministers resorted to in the run up to the polls.
PDP will convene the meeting in which the reason of the party’s debacle as the election strategy for the Anantnag by-polls, which are scheduled to be held on May 25 will be discussed. The meeting would be either chaired by Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, as party president or her uncle and PDP vice president, Sartaj Madni.
Former Minister and PDP general secretary, Qazi Afzal, said that the letters will be written to all the party leaders to attend the meeting that will be convened to discuss the poll results.
Though PDP will discuss the elections, NC provincial president, Kashmir, Nasir Aslam Wani, said that the poor show of the PDP on the Srinagar parliamentary seat was due to the fact that it “reneged on promises which were made to the people.”
“PDP had got the votes in 2014 elections on the slogan to keep the BJP at bay, but it joined hands with the saffron party to form the government in the state,’’ he said. He also blamed the PDP-BJP government for the lower voter turnout.
“It is the government which is to be held responsible for the less voter turnout. In our time when elections were held in 2014 people had turned out in large numbers to vote,’’ he said. Congress vice president, G N Monga, said that the PDP would have also lost the Anantang parliamentary seat, if the elections would not have been deferred there.
Congress state president, G A Mir, said that the “people have rejected the communal agenda of PDP-BJP coalition, which is responsible for the deteriorating situation in the valley.’’ ‘It is the victory of secular and unifying forces in the state, as the ruling dispensation backed by RSS is committed to implement their communal agenda in the state to meet their dirty political ends,” he said.