by Tahir Bhat
SRINAGAR: Traditionally bastion of National Conference, central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district has given the major mandate to the candidates of PAGD. In a total of 14 constituencies, the joint candidates wrested 11 seats, leaving only three seats for independent candidates.
According to the latest figures, the balance has tilt towards NC with seven seats followed by PDP with four seats. The remaining three are with the independent candidates. As details emerge, the seven seats taken by NC are Ganderbal-C, Gund-A, Gund-B, Lar-B, Wakura-A, Wakura-B and Kangan-C. The four seats on which PDP registered victory are Ganderbal-A, Ganderbal-B, Kangan-A, Sherpathri. The independents took over Lar-A, Safapora, and Kangan-B. Surprisingly, on this seat the member of powerful Mian family of Kangan, Mian Zubair was fighting on PAGD mandate. Zubair is the brother of NC veteran and former minister Mian Altaf Ahmad.
At the time of seat-sharing, reportedly there was “tussle”. An NC leader had objected giving a mandate to PDP leader saying “PDP had too much baggage. It was the PDP which aligned with the BJP and now they are asking people to vote to keep away the BJP – how will people believe them?”, he said adding on the ground level “it would be difficult to the canvas.”
Kangan, a strong belt of NC has always sided with its main man Mian Altaf, having both religious and political significance. Loyal to the family, the vote bank, every time has remained with them. However, this time it is surprising to see the brother of Mian Altaf, a powerful face lost to the independent candidate of the same clan. Even if, the loss is registered on the PAGD seat, the victory has still gone to the Mian family of the Kangan.
A district with a distinct character, Ganderbal has always thrown surprises. Known as “King’s constituency,” the victory registered by PDP’s Qazi Afzal in 2002 against Omar Abdullah was a major shift in the electoral politics of the place.Later Omar had to move out out of the place and give way to his party man Ishfaq Jabbar, the last lawmaker of the consistency in the assembly of the erstwhile state.