Srinagar, June 22: Visibly confident of her victory, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today toured many of the polling booths in Anantnag Assembly constituency which went to polls to decide whether she would enter the state legislature.
Mehbooba, currently an MP from Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency, is locked in a three-corner contest in the by-poll with Hilal Shah of Congress and Iftikar Misger of National Conference.
Women – young and old alike – jostled to hug Mehbooba and click a selfie with her as the PDP leader, along with her brother Tasaduq Mufti, visited polling booths in the constituency where elections were necessitated due to the death of her father and former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7 this year.
The Chief Minister’s security had a tough time in keeping the crowd of her supporters away but Mehbooba greeted everyone in her way and interacted with them in Kashmiri.
Though Mehbooba chose not to speak to a battery of journalists present, she talked freely to the women who came out from the polling booths after casting their votes.
She even obliged to selfie requests with many of the young – especially first-time voters – clicking their picture with her.
Some older women also asked their relatives to click them with Mehbooba, calling her “our leader”.
“We are here to support and vote for her. She belongs to this land and I am sure she will work for its development and prosperity,” one such woman Kulsooma said at Ranbirpora in Kehribal area of the constituency.
As Mehbooba, popularly called ‘baaji’ (elder sister), made her way out of the polling booths, young supporters of her party – PDP – raised slogans of her victory. “25 June, baaji zuin” (June 25, is Mehbooba’s win),” they said.
They also raised slogans eulogizing her father.
Many of her supporters said it is a vote for loyalty as she was taking forward the agenda of her father to take the state towards peace and development.
“We supported her father. Now that he is no more, we are supporting her. We are loyal to the family as they have done so much for us, for our area which was otherwise neglected,” said one Mohammad Younis.
He said Sayeed always wanted the state to prosper and “now his daughter is taking his agenda forward and we will not leave her at this stage when she needs our support the most to take the state towards peace, development and prosperity,” he said.
2015 Kashmir Despatch