Heavyweights drubbed

The results of the 2014 Assembly elections did throw surprises as several high-profile candidates lost while lesser known candidates made their entry into the state legislature for the first time.

Among the list of big winners is separatist-turned-mainstream politician and PC chief Sajjad Lone who won his maiden election from Handwara in north Kashmir.  He defeated NC stalwart and minister in the outgoing government, Choudhary Ramzan, by a margin of more than 4,000 votes.

Another big winner is business tycoon-turned-politician Syed Altaf Bukhari who defeated high profile candidates of the NC and BJP.  Bukhari, who contested on PDP ticket, defeated former state Home Minister and NC leader Nasir Aslam and BJP candidate Hina Bhat from Amirakadal constituency.

Another surprise winner is Mohammad Abas Wani of the PDP who was pitched against Ghulam Hassan Mir, agriculture minister in the outgoing government and Sheikh Mustafa Kamal, uncle of Omar Abdullah.  Wani, who contested the first election of his political career, won from Gulmarg constituency in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.

Mian Altaf Ahmad, veteran Gujjar leader and forest minister in the outgoing government repeated history in Kangan constituency of Ganderbal district by defeating PDP candidate Bashir Mir.  From Mian Nizamudin to Mian Bashir Ahmad to incumbent and third generation scion Mian Altaf Ahmad, the winners always used to have a cakewalk in Kangan, but this time Altaf won by just over 2,000 votes.

Hakim Mohammad Yasin, president of the Peoples Democratic Front and MLA in outgoing Assembly, retained Khansahib winning it for the third time. He defeated PDP candidate Saif-ud-Din.

Among the biggest losers is Abdul Rahim Rather, a veteran NC leader who had won all elections since 1977. Rather, finance minister in the outgoing government, was defeated by PDP candidate Ghulam Nabi Lone from Chrar-e-Sharief constituency. Outgoing Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand of the Congress suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of BJP’s Krishan Pal by a margin of over 14,000 votes.

Taj Mohi-ud-Din, another veteran Congress leader and Health Minister in the outgoing government was defeated by NC stalwart and Rajya Sabha member Mohamamd Shafi from border constituency of Uri in Baramulla. Taj had defeated Shafi both in 2002 and 2008.

The biggest setback for the PDP came from Devsar constituency in south Kashmir where Sartaj Madni, Deputy Speaker and brother-in-law of party patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, lost to Congress candidate Mohammad Amin Bhat.

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