|Early Times Report|
Jammu, Apr 24: Peoples Democratic Party, which had emerged as an alternative for the National Conference in Kashmir, is likely to get yet another jolt if the polling percentage in Shopian, Pulwama and Kulgam districts remains low on 29 April and 6 May.
An analyst while talking to Early Times said that voters in Anantnag constituency, which was considered to be PDP's citadel, seem to have said goodbye to the party and the PDP president Mehbooba Mufti.
He said, "Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam districts are likely to witness low polling as in these areas terrorists are still present. People may not come out to vote due to fear."
The PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday addressed a small gathering in Shopian town and told the people that her party is contesting the Lok Sabha polls to safeguard the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. "We are not contesting Lok Sabha elections for roads, electricity poles or water supply but for the protection of unique identity of the state," she said.
A Kashmir watcher said, "Someone needs to ask Mehbooba, is she the only one who can protect J&K's special status? Despite defeat staring at her she is continuing with her rhetoric and is trying to mislead people."
He said that in 2017 when by elections were scheduled to be held in Anantnag Parliamentary constituency, Mehbooba's brother Tasaduq Mufti, who was given the ticket by her sister refused to contest the polls at the eleventh hour citing poll day violence in 2017 in Srinagar constituency as the reason for him pulling out from the contest. "The PDP during its rule had created an impression that polls can never be held in south Kashmir. Mehbooba as Chief Minister just kept on talking about Pakistan, separatists and militants being the stakeholders. It seems she was under the illusion that by acting as spokesperson of the separatists, she would be able to rule J&K forever, and she would be able to create a scare in New Delhi," the Kashmir watcher added.
He said that PDP is on a "sticky wicket" in south Kashmir and if the party president Mehbooba Mufti, who is contesting from the Anantnag Parliamentary seat fails to get the votes in next two phases, other candidates in the fray can turn tables on her and she might face her "first defeat" in the areas from where she had emerged as a leader. "Her pro-separatist leanings seem to have not helped her cause," the Kashmir watcher added.