Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and Peoples Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday conceded defeat in the Lok Sabha elections after she trailed behind National Conference’s Hasnain Masoodi and Congress’ Ghulam Ahmad Mir in the Anantnag seat.
“I’ve been fortunate to get the love & affection of my people. They have every right to express their anger for my failings. Accept their verdict with humility,” Mufti said on Twitter. “Congratulations to winning candidates from NC. I’m grateful to my party workers & colleagues.”
This is the second time the Peoples Democratic Party chief has lost an election since she began her political career in 1996.
Mufti on Thursday congratulated the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance as it is headed for a landslide victory even as counting continues for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. “Congratulations to Narendra Modi ji for a historic mandate,” she said. “Today surely belongs to BJP and it’s allies. She also suggested that the Congress party needs someone with the capabilities like BJP chief Amit Shah.
Mufti’s rival and Jammu and Kashmir National Conference leader Omar Abdullah also praised Shah and congratulated the BJP. “So the exit polls were correct,” he said on Twitter. “All that’s left is to congratulate the BJP & NDA for a stellar performance. Credit where credit is due PM Modi Sahib & Mr Amit Shah put together a winning alliance & a very professional campaign. Bring on the next five years.”
The Anantnag Parliamentary constituency voted in three phases – on April 23, April 29 and May 6. The government deployed additional personnel on polling days as security was a prime concern following the terror attack on the Central Reserve Police Force convoy on February 14 in Pulwama.
The Anantnag constituency comprises Anantnag, Shopian, Kulgam and Pulwama — the four districts that have seen increased violence over the last few years. These four districts were also strongholds of the PDP. Anantnag recorded a low overall turnout of 8.76%. This was significantly lower than the 28.54% recorded during the 2014 Lok Sabha election.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Mufti won the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat but it has been vacant since she took over as Jammu and Kashmir chief minister. She resigned as chief minister in June 2018 after the coalition government of PDP and BJP collapsed.