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Srinagar Lok Sabha seat could be a cakewalk for Farooq Abdullah


Srinagar, Apr 11: The politically strategic Srinagar Parliamentary constituency, set to go for polls on April 18 in the second phase of elections in Jammu and Kashmir, will witness a direct contest between National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah and Aga Syed Mohsin, a shia leader.

The Srinagar Parliamentary constituency, until the 2014 elections was seen as a bastion of the NC as the party enjoyed a majority of its support in the Valley from these areas.

File photo of National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah

Abdullah had lost to PDP candidate Tariq Hameed Karra in Srinagar in the 2014 general elections but won the 2017 bypoll to the constituency defeating Peoples Democratic Party's Nazir Ahmed Khan.

The main challenge to Abdullah's bid this time is from PDP's Aga Syed Mohsin, who had contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections as an independent candidate. The Shia leader had then secured 16,000 votes out of the 3.12 lakh votes polled.

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The Congress has not fielded any candidate against the NC in Srinagar and Baramulla constituencies to make it easy for the NC to cross the finish line.

While Mohsin will be banking on significant Shia votes and support base of the PDP for staging an upset, for BJP's Jehangir, it will be a tough initiation into electoral politics of Kashmir which has been dominated by the National Conference for many decades.

Farooq Abdullah has lost an election only once in his 42-year political career since his debut in electoral politics in 1980. The NC has won the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat nine times out of 12 since 1967.

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A low turnout due to a separatist call for a boycott has also traditionally favoured the NC. It remains to be seen how the separatists enforced boycott could play a role in deciding winners.

The Srinagar Lok Sabha seat is spread over three districts of Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal. It has 12,90,318 voters who will cast their votes at 1,716 polling stations set up in the constituency.

The last date for filing nomination papers for the second phase is March 26 and the scrutiny of the papers will be conducted on March 27. The last date for withdrawal of nominations is March 29 and the polling will be held on April 18, from 7 am to 6 pm.

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