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Posted at: May 23, 2019, 6:50 AM; last updated: May 23, 2019, 6:50 AM (IST)

Stalwarts await the verdict with bated breath

Stalwarts await the verdict with bated breath
A security man stands guard outside a counting centre in Jammu on Wednesday. Tribune Photo: Inderjeet Singh

Dinesh Manhotra
Tribune News Service
JAMMU, May 22

Already sealed in the electric voting machines (EVMs) is the fate of political stalwarts Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, to be announced on Thursday. Counting of votes for the six Lok Sabha constituencies will be held at 10 centres across the state.

Farooq Abdullah is the National Conference (NC) candidate from the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat while Mehbooba is contesting from the Anantnag constituency.

Out of the total 79,18,379 voters, 34,93,597 (44.12 per cent) had cast their votes in the five-phased elections for the six Lok Sabha seats of J&K.

While maximum 14,54,045 voters (72.49 per cent) had voted on Jammu-Poonch Lok Sabha seat, the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat registered only 8.7 per cent voting. Out of the total 13,93,740 voters, only 1,14,417 exercised their right to franchise.

In the 2014 elections, Mehbooba Mufti had defeated National Conference (NC) candidate Mirza Mehboob Beg by a margin of over 65,000 votes. Mehbooba has represented this seat twice, in 2004 and 2014. Sources said Mehbooba had reached Delhi on Tuesday.

This time, the former Chief Minister is facing a tough battle in the four-cornered contest. Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief GA Mir is also contesting from Anantnag seat while NC had fielded Hasnain Masodi. Sofi Yosuf, MLC, was the BJP candidate for the seat.

Farooq had lost the 2014 election from Srinagar by42,000 votes. He was defeated by PDP candidate Tariq Hamid Karra. Farooq, had, however, won the seat in a by-election as joint candidate of the Congress and NC. The Congress is supporting Farooq again on this seat. This time, PDP has fielded Aga Sayeed against Farooq and Khalid Jahangir is the BJP candidate.

Union Minister of State (MoS) Jitendra Singh, who had emerged as the ‘giant killer’ in the 2014 elections, is fighting against the scion of erstwhile Dogra dynasty, Vikramaditya Singh, from Udhampurseat. BJP rebel leader Choudhary Lal Singh and Panthers Party candidate Harsh Dev Singh are also in the fray.

Meanwhile, the Jammu-Poonch Lok Sabha seat is witnessing a straight fight between sitting BJP member Jugal Kishore Sharma and Congress heavyweight Raman Bhalla as NC and PDP announced support to Congress candidate.

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