Top contests of 2014: Mehboob vs Mehbooba in Anantnag

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Anantnag (Jammu and Kashmir), April 24: The Anantnag constituency in Jammu and Kashmir is set to see a thrilling contest between National Conference's (NC) Dr Mirza Mehboob Beig and People's Democratic Party's (PDP) Mehbooba Mufti. The BJP has fielded Mushtaq Ahmad Malik from this constituency.

2009 result: NC's Beig defeated PDP's Peer Muhammad Hussain by 5,224 votes.

[See top contests of 2014]

Ananthnag will go to the polls on April 24.

About Dr Mirza Mehboob Beig (NC)

Son of former deputy chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mirza Mohammad Afzal Beig and a medical practitioner by profession, Dr Beg, 65, was a member of the Jammu and Kashmir assembly between 1983-87 and 2002-08. Between March and May 2009, Dr Beig served as a member of the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Council. Dr Beig has a big reputation as a state Cabinet minister and also won a number of awards, including that of the best legislator. In the past, Beig had urged all political parties to unite and ask the Centre to begin dialogue with the separatists. In 2004, Beg had lost to Mehbooba Mufti by over 38,000 votes from Anantnag but defeated the same opponent in the 2009 election.

About Mehbooba Mufti (PDP)

Mehbooba Mufti Sayeed, 45, is the daughter of former Union minister and Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. Mehbooba, president of the PDP, left the Congress in 1999. Mufti, who has studied law at the University of Kashmir, is the tallest woman leader from the state of Jammu and Kashmir. In 2008, Mehbooba was elected as an MLA from Wachi constituency in Jammu and Kashmir. She is a strong advocate of social security and youth employment.

Analysis: In 2009, the NC had won the constituency which is considered a strong bastion of the PDP. However, this time the anti-incumbency factor sould work in favour of the PDP. The fact that the PDP has 12 out of 16 MLAs from South Kashmir is also expected to work in its favour this time. Observers, however, feel that a low voter turnout may help the NC. There is also a resentment against the PDP among the local people for they allege that the MLAs of the party did not turned out much in the last five years. Beig is hopeful that his performance as the MP in the last five years will help him get through this time as well.

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