October 1999 News


Congress washed out in J-K, Soz loses deposit

7 October 1999
The Indian Express

JAMMU: The ruling National Conference, led by Farooq Abdullah mad a clean sweep of all the four Lok Sabha seats from Kashmir Valley and Ladakh regions while the BJP retained both its seats in the Jammu region.

While increasing its tally by one seat, the National Conference ensured that the Congress did not open its account in the state. The party had won from the Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency during the last elections when its candidate, former Union Home Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed bagged the seat.

Subsequently, he quit the party and floated the J&K People's Democratic Party (PDP) which made its maiden attempt to contest elections this time but drew a blank.

Significantly, Saifuddin Soz, the man considered responsible for the fall of the Vajpayee government, lost his security deposit and trailed in third spot in Baramulla constituency. Soz won the previous election from the constituency as the NC candidate and was subsequently expelled from the party. The winner this time is Abdul Rashid Shaheen of the NC.

Even as merely 11.6 per cent polling was recorded in the prestigious Srinagar constituency where Farooq's son, Omar Farooq, was pitted against Mufti's daughter Mehbooba Mufti, the NC candidate won by a margin of 36,900 votes.

The NC was also able to retain the Ladakh seat after a close contest. The party had fielded a new candidate, Ghulam Hassan Khan, who won by a margin of merely 2090 votes by defeating the Congress candidate, Thupstan Chewang, who is also chairman of the Leh Autonomous Hill Development Council.

However, the ruling NC received a setback in the two Assembly by elections held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections in the state.

It trailed in both constituencies but the results have not been formally declared because of the alleged ransacking of the counting center by its activists.

The BJP not only retained both the Lok Sabha seats in the Jammu region, it also increased its percentage of margin over the previous elections. Its candidates, Vaid Vishnu Dutt, and Prof Chaman Lal Gupta from Jammu and Udhampur constituencies, respectively, faced little difficulty in retaining their seats.

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