Srinagar June 25 : Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday won the crucial Anantnag Assembly seat by 12,085 votes.
The by-poll was not only crucial for Mehbooba and her party, but was also a popularity test for her given the resentment among people against her decision of forging alliance with BJP.
Of the 28,500 polled votes, the PDP candidate Mehbooba secured 17,701 votes, followed by Congress candidate Hilal Shah who secured 5,616. National Conference (NC) Iftikhar Misger ranked third with 2,811 votes.
The PDP’s winning margin has considerably gone up. In the 2014 polls, later Mufti Muhammad Sayeed had defeated Congress candidate Shah by 6,000 votes, the margin has doubled this year with 12,000 lead by Mehbooba.
Earlier in the day, the counting was stopped immediately after the first round results were announced because, Congress candidate Shah alleged that an Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) was not properly sealed and should not be counted at all.
However, after 15 minutes the counting was restarted.
The National Conference also alleged EVM tampering.
However, DC Anantnag Syed Abid Rasheed Shah refuted the allegations of tampering of EVMs.
The Anantnag seat had fallen vacant after sitting chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed died on January 7. Around 28,500 voters participated in the election out of 80,000 registered voters, with poll percentage around at 34 per cent, down by five per cent compared to the 2014 Assembly polls amidst separatists boycott call.
2015 Kashmir Despatch