SRINAGAR, April 17: As Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency goes for polls tomorrow, it would be interesting whether the National Conference would show its dominance on the parliamentary seat, where the party lost only thrice in last over 50 years.
The NC has lost the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat only thrice since 1967. The party faced its first defeat in 1971 when Shamim Ahmad Shamim defeated its candidate. Shamim had contested the polls as an Independent candidate. The NC faced its second defeat in 1996, when the Congress candidate Ghulam Mohammad Mir (Magami) emerged win from this parliamentary constituency. While Tariq Hamid Karra, who contested 2014 polls on the PDP ticket, defeated Farooq Abdullah.
National Conference won the seat in 1977 by Begum Akbar Jehan, Farooq Abdullah in 1980, Abdul Rashid Kabuli in 1984 and Mohammad Shafi Bhat in 1989.
In 1996 it was Congress leader Ghulam Mohammad Mir Magami who won the seat. National Conference leader Omar Abdullah won it thrice after that — 1998 (bypolls), 1999 and 2004 — before his father Farooq Abdullah won it in 2009. In 2014, Tariq H Karra won it for PDP. Abdullah retained in 2017 bypoll.
Spanning over three districts-Srinagar, Budgam, and Ganderbal- the constituency has 18 assembly segments. The Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency would go for polls on April 18 and has 12,90,318 voters who will cast their votes at 1,716 polling stations set up in the constituency.
Unlike the 2014 elections, when Farooq Abdullah faced his first defeat of his 42-year-long career at the hand of Tariq Hamid Karra, who was then part of the PDP, this time it seems a cake walk for the National Conference president.
PDP has fielded a comparatively weaker candidate Agha Mohsin. In 2014, the Shia leader contested the Lok Sabha election from Srinagar as an Independent. Out of 31221255 lakh votes polled, Mohsin bagged 16,050 votes. While the then PDP leader Tariq Hamid Karra got 157,923, and Farooq polled 1,15,643 votes.
The Peoples Conference-led by Sajad Gani Lone has fielded Imran Raza Ansari’s brother Irfan Raza Ansari. While Khalid Jehangir is BJP’s candidate.
Khalid recently raked up a controversy by floating green campaign advertisement in local dailies and billboards instead saffron colour.
Agha Mohsin will be banking on the Shia electorate of Budgam district, where the Shia leader has good significance and support base of the PDP.
Similarly, Irfan Ansari has a strong hold on Zadibal assembly constituency of Srinagar district, where his uncle Abid Ansari has been the MLA. The Peoples Conference last year made inroads in the constituency when his party leader Junaid Azim Matoo became mayor of Srinagar.