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Baramulla: Jailed Engineer Rashid emerges as giant killer

Defeats bigwigs Omar Abdullah, Sajad Lone
02:38 AM Jun 05, 2024 IST | Syed Rizwan Geelani
baramulla  jailed engineer rashid emerges as giant killer

Baramulla, June 4: The incarcerated Awami Ittehad Party chief Engineer Rashid who contested as an independent candidate won from the Baramulla parliament seat, defeating two political heavyweights - former chief minister and National Conference Vice president Omar Abdullah and former minister and Peoples Conference President Sajad Gani Lone.


Rashid maintained his dominance throughout the day and was declared the winner with a lead of over 2 lakh votes.


As per the official figures, of the 10,33,900 votes polled, 10,26,457 votes were polled through EVMS while 7443 votes were polled through postal ballots.


Of the total votes polled, Rashid got 4,72,481 votes and emerged victorious with a lead of 2,04,142 votes.


His opponent Abdullah got 2,68,339 votes while Lone got 1,73,239 votes.


Mir Muhammad Fayaz of PDP stood at fourth position getting 27,488 votes.


While Abdullah and Lone were backed by their parties, Rashid fought the election from Tihar jail and his campaign was led by his 23-year-old son Abrar Rashid.


Rashid, a former two-time MLA from Langate assembly constituency in north Kashmir is currently lodged at Tihar Jail alleged for terror-funding activities.

He was arrested in 2019 in a case registered by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

As the result of the Baramulla parliamentary constituency was announced, celebrations and jubilations began from the venue of the counting centre in Baramulla.

Celebrations were also held in other parts of north Kashmir including his home town Handwara.

During the election campaign, the two sons of Rashid passionately managed the election campaign of their father and were joined by their supporters from every corner of the parliamentary seat.

“We did not incur any expenditure on our campaigning. We spent only Rs 27,000 on election campaigning while the rest of the amount which was spent on election campaign was contributed by the supporters out of their own pockets,” Abrar Rashid said during the election campaign.

Both the sons of Rashid carried a rigorous election campaign and reached out to the people in almost every belt of the parliamentary constituency.

His victory in the Baramulla parliamentary constituency is being termed as the opening of a new chapter of politics in north Kashmir.

"We had limited resources and we always felt the absence of our father. But we tried to reach out to the people at the grassroots level which has yielded results today,” Abrar told reporters amid the celebrations held in his hometown after the announcement of results.

During the election campaign, Abrar took advantage through which he appealed to the people to support his father in the parliamentary elections.

Amid the hustle and bustle in his hometown, Abrar extended his gratitude to the supporters and voters for coming out in large numbers to cast their votes in favour of his father.

Abrar thanked people who came out in support of them in large numbers.

“I am grateful to everyone for their unconditional support. Our supporters showed the same enthusiasm while voting that they had during the election campaign," Abrar said.

Responding to the criticism that their supporters were non-voters, during the election campaign, Abrar said the results have spoken the truth.

“People must have got the answer now,” he said.

Abrar said his father contested the election after the political affairs committee of the party took the decision.

“It was not his own decision," he said.

About the challenges he faced during the election campaign, Abrar said that the entire process was full of challenges for him, being a newcomer in the political process.

“But the support which I received from everyone, particularly youth, encouraged me and I decided to move ahead with it,” he said.

Meanwhile, during the counting, Omar Abdullah conceded his defeat and congratulated Rashid for his victory.

“I think it’s time to accept the inevitable. Congratulations to Engineer Rashid for his victory in North Kashmir. I don’t believe his victory will hasten his release from prison nor will the people of North Kashmir get the representation they have a right to but the voters have spoken and in a democracy that’s all that matters," he posted on X.

Peoples Conference (PC) Chairman Sajad Lone also conceded defeat and congratulated Rashid for his victory.

“With all humility at my command, I accept defeat. And it is time to congratulate Engineer Rashid,” Lone posted on X.  “I wanted to make a difference. I thought we should be empowered economically, socially and politically to be able to make a difference and be counted. We had suffered a lot in the past 30 years and been robbed of all our dignity. The people’s mandate is supreme. I accept the people's mandate with all humility.”

Apni Party president Altaf Bukhari said that his party accepts the defeat with “grace and humility”.

Apni Party had fielded Zaffar Manhas from the Anantnag-Rajouri LS seat and also extended its support to Sajad Lone.

He congratulated the winning candidates on their success, saying the Apni Party will use this opportunity to introspect, learn from mistakes, and emerge stronger and more resilient.

“Congratulations to the winning candidates on their well-deserved success! We will use this opportunity to introspect, learn from our mistakes, and emerge stronger and more resilient. We respect the democratic process and the will of the people, and we look forward to a fresh start. May this new chapter bring prosperity, peace, and progress to Jammu and Kashmir,” he posted on X.