BJP takes lead in Tral Assembly segment in Kashmir

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In a boost to right-wing BJP, the saffron party has taken a lead from militancy infested Tral assembly segment of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district during the recently concluded Parliamentary elections.

Tral is part of Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency which was won by National Conference (NC). The BJP candidate for Anantnag, Sofi Yousuf polled more votes than regional People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, State Congress president G A Mir and the winning candidate of the NC, Justice (Retd) Hasnain Masoodi from Tral Assembly segment.

According to official figures the BJP polled 323 votes in Tral followed by the NC with 234, PDP 220, and Congress 144 votes. There was a near total boycott in Tral as ant-India sentiment runs deep in the area. Considered as a stronghold of separatists, Tral constituency recorded 1.03% voter turnout in the election as only 1019 persons lined up before polling stations to cast their votes.

Burhan Wani, the face of new age militancy in Kashmir, who was killed by security forces in July 2016 and Zakir Musa, the chief of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, an al-Qaeda affiliated group, who was killed last week, both hailed from Tral.

Sofi Yousuf terms BJP’s lead in Tral an ‘achievement’ for the party. “Despite threats by the NC and the PDP workers, our cadre came out to vote in some pockets of Tral,” he said

Yousuf got 10225 votes from Anantnag LS seat of which 7789 were migrant and postal ballots. Anantnag LS seat has 16 Assembly segments. The election witnessed minimal participation with just 8% electorate exercising their franchise.

The BJP has never won any Assembly seat in Kashmir nor obtained lead from any segment till now. However, the party managed to send two members to the Legislative Council during the previous PDP-BJP alliance against the berths reserved for Kashmir Valley in the House.

While Yousuf was elected as MLC in 2015 for four years, Girdhari Lal Raina, a Kashmiri Pandit, got elected as member of the Upper House in 2017.

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