The election results are out and the surprising result in the Srinagar constituency is that Farooq Abdullah has lost to PDP’s Tariq Hamid Karra. Farooq Abdullah could garner only 115643 votes against Tariq Karra’s 157923 votes.
For someone who first became Chief Minister in 1984, after his father Sheikh Abdullah’s death, Farooq has more or less been dug in to this constituency, which has been seen as his stronghold over the last three decades. The National Conference has won all elections from Srinagar barring 1971 and 1996, when it did not contest the polls.
This election the anti-centre sentiment has been strong and the call given by separatists in the valley to boycott the polls has obviously gone against Farooq Abdullah. Out of the total registered voter base of around 12.06 lakh only around 26% turned up to vote, which was marginally higher than the 25.55% turnout in 2009. Out of this, the voter turnout in the Srinagar district was extremely poor at 11.46%, whereas Ganderbal district recorded the highest turnout at 45.21% with Budgam having the second highest at 39.05%.
The reasons for defeat can be attributed to the strong anti-incumbency wave across the country and with wide spread disenchantment with the Omar Abdullah government for failing to get the centre lift AFSPA laws that has been a sore point with the local population. PDP aligning with BJP at the centre has been viewed favorably by the Kashmiris, who still recall the friendly initiatives taken by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.