April 2019 News

Mehbooba Skips Srinagar District In Campaigning

16 April 2019
Rising Kashmir

Srinagar: As the election campaigning for the Srinagar parliamentary constituency came to an end Tuesday, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) did not organise any mega rally in the district even though the party had won five of the eight assembly segments in district in the previous assembly polls. PDP President Mehbooba Mufti has been on a campaign streak in parts of Budgam and Ganderbal areas of the Srinagar parliamentary seat where the party organised rallies that she addressed. However, PDP was conspicuous with its absence in Srinagar district even though their political opponent National Conference has organised three rallies in the district. Mehbooba addressed a party workers convention at Beerwah area of Budgam district on April 7. She went on to visit and address election rallies in Khan Sahab constituency of Budgam on April 13; Wathoora in Chadoora constituency on April 13 and Kangan constituency of Ganderbal on April 12. However, Mehbooba did not campaign or address any party rallies in Srinagar where her party had won the assembly segments of Amira Kadal, Sonwar, Hazratbal, Batamaloo and Zadibal in 2014 assembly polls. PDP has lost two of its former MLAs from the district with Abid Ansari from Zadibal joining the Peoples Conference and former cabinet minister Syed Altaf Bukhari from Amira Kadal now supporting the NC candidate Farooq Abdullah in the parliamentary polls. However, the party still has two former cabinet ministers - Muhammad Ashraf Mir and Asiea Naqash - in the party with Naqash being conspicuously absent from election campaigning and party activities since the fall of PDP-led coalition government in June last year. PDP had lost the Srinagar parliamentary seat to NC President Farooq Abdullah in 2017 after a by-poll was necessitated following the then PDP MP Tariq Hameed Karra's resignation from the party and parliamentary posts. In 2017 by-poll, the PDP was trailing from Zadibal and Hazratbal assembly segments but had managed to secure a lead from Sonwar and Amira Kadal segments. Earlier, in 2014 PDP defeated NC President by over 40,000 votes making it Abdullah's first defeat in his 42-year-old political career. The main challenge to Abdullah's bid this time is from PDP's Aga Syed Mohsin, who had contested the 2014 Lok Sabha polls as an independent candidate. The Shia leader had then secured 16,000 votes of the 3.12 lakh votes polled. The Congress had not fielded a candidate against Abdullah in the 2017 by-election to Srinagar Lok Sabha seat. Talking to Rising Kashmir, PDP District President Srinagar and MLC Khurshid Alam said due to time constraints and Mehbooba's belief in her party leaders from Srinagar, the party decided not to organise a mega rally for her. 'We haven't abandoned Srinagar. Our leaders organised and addressed rallies in almost all constituencies of Srinagar,' Alam said. 'The work done by the PDP leaders and lawmakers will resonate through votes in favour of the party in the upcoming assembly elections.' On the question of PDP losing some former MLAs from Srinagar district, Alam said the party matters more than the individual leaders. 'Our vote bank in all such constituencies is intact,' he said. About former minister Aseia Naqash's absence from the campaign trail in Srinagar, Alam said, 'She (Naqash) has her own style of functioning. She is doing her work in the constituency in the way she deems good.'