Anantnag by-poll: If Tasaduq wins, PDP will make history

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Srinagar, Mar 20: For the last 28 years, no political party has been able to retain the south Kashmir parliamentary seat, which is slated to go for the by-poll on April 12, for the second consecutive term.
The Anantnag Lok Sabha seat fell vacant in June last year, when Mehbooba Mufti gave up her parliamentary berth to become the Chief Minister of the state.
Her party, the PDP, has now chosen Mehbooba’s brother, Mufti Tasaduq Hussain, as its contender for the Anantnag seat. The cinematographer-turned-politician would be making his election debut against G A Mir, who is representing the National Conference-Congress alliance.
If Tasaduq, who joined the PDP on his father Mufti Mohammed Sayeed’s first death anniversary on January 7, triumphs, it will be for the first time in the last 28 years that any political party would retain Anantnag constituency.
The last time someone could do that was in 1989, when National Conference’s P L Handoo was reelected to the Lok Sabha from Anantnag.
The following parliamentary election, held in 1991, could not include Kashmir due to the outbreak of militancy.  The state was under the President’s Rule till 1996.
In 1996 polls, Janta Dal candidate Muhammad Maqbool Dar emerged winner from the constituency.
Mufti Muhammad Sayeed won the south Kashmir parliamentary seat in 1998 on the Congress ticket in the election that saw 28 per cent voter turnout.
In 1999, the Lok Sabha seat of south Kashmir was won by the National Conference candidate Ali Muhammad Naik, and the voter turnout stood less than 20 per cent.
Then National Conference leader Saifuddin Soz had, in defiance of the party’s stands, voted against the BJP-led coalition during the confidence motion in Lok Sabha.
He later joined the Congress party.
Mehbooba Mufti made her entry into the parliament in 2004, by defeating her rival National Conference candidate Mehboob Beg by more than 38,000 votes in Anantnag.
In 2009, the National Conference candidate Mehboob Beg came out the winner; he defeated PDP candidate Peer Mohammad Hussain with a margin of 5,200 votes.
Mehbooba Mufti again won the Lok Sabha seat in 2014 by 65,417 votes; she defeated Mehboob Beg, who was then a member of the NC.
Tasaduq’s appears sure of his win.
“I am contesting to add new things to the system. I have some ideas to be put in place. It is a self-discovery for me,” Tasaduq had told the media on Tuesday.
However, his opponent, Mir, seems equally hopeful of his win.
“We have many issues on which people could judge the Congress and NC candidates. We are hopeful that people will vote in large numbers, as the NC and the Congress have given them better choice of candidates and give befitting reply to the PDP candidates,” the Congress leader said.

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