"Kafan Posh" MUF candidates at an election rally in Iqbal Park in 1987 before March 23 polling day. (Photos in special arrangement with MERAJUDDIN)
“Kafan Posh” MUF candidates at an election rally in Iqbal Park in 1987 before March 23 polling day. (Photos in special arrangement with MERAJUDDIN)

MUF Gains

MUF had contested 40 segments, all in Kashmir. It won Islamabad (Mohammad Sayeed Shah), Kulgam (Abdul Razak Mir), Homshalibugh (Ghulam Nabi Sumji) and Sopore (Syed Ali Geelani). It ended up runner-up at 31 segments including Langate (Abdul Qadir), Sonawari (Abdul Khaliq Hanief), Pattan (Molvi Mustafa Hussain), Sangrama (Abdul Majid), Rafiabad (Abdul Majid Bhat), Baramulla (Ghulam Mohammad), Uri (Abdul Rehman War), Kangan (Gull Mohammad War), Ganderbal (Abdul Khaliq Sofi), Hazratbal (Syed Fayaz Naqshbandi), Amirakadal (Mohammad Yousuf Shah), Habakadal (Mushtaq Ahmad), Zainakadal (Firdous Atta), Idgah (Bashir Ahmad), Zadibal (Peer Abdul Rouf), Nigeen (Hakim Mohammad Jawad), Beerwah (Ghulam Mohammad Mir), Budgam (Mohammad Sultan Bhat), Chrar (Abdul Rashid), Pulwama (Mushtaq Ahmad), Pampore (Ali Mohammad Lone), Tral (Mohammad Sultan), Wachi (Mohammad Abdullah), Shopian (Abdul Ahad Thokar), Noorabad (Bashir A Malik), Devsar (Hamidullah Rangrez), Pahalgam (Ghulam Nabi Hagroo), Bejbehara (Mohammad Sultan), Shangus (Jamsheed Ghulam Mohammad), Kokernag (Mohammad Abdullah Sheikh), and Dooru (Nooruddin Shah).

MUFPolled 30.96%

MUF polled 470580 votes which was 30.96 percent of the popular vote cast on March 23, 1987. Abdul Gani Lone’s Peoples’ Conference did not bag a seat but polled 93949 votes. NC polled 713232 votes making 46.93 percent of the total Kashmir turnout.

Margins Smaller Than Rejected

1987 was a paper ballot era. Apparently there was a clear system in vogue that envisages that every ballot was numbered and the voters who would use it would be listed by the staff. Ignorance and illiteracy did lead to various votes getting rejected for various reasons.
Jagmohan, the then governor, talking about the bungling said in various constituencies, winners had lesser margins than the votes which were rejected by the counting staff. In Handawara NC’s Choudhary Ramzan defeated Peoples Conference’s Abdul Gani Lone by a margin of 1330 votes but the votes rejected were 1901. In Wachi, MUF lost by 122 votes when the rejected votes were 1816. In Shopian MUF lost by 336 votes but the rejected votes were 1122. In Bejbehara NC won by 100 votes but the rejected votes numbered 1177. In Dooru MUF was defeated by a margin of 1232 votes when the rejected votes were 2006.
In various other constituencies, the winning margin and the rejected number of votes were closer: Langate had rejected 986 votes while winning margin was 1305; Kupwara was 1294 /1779; Nigeen was 1070/1583; Tral was 817/1355 and Pahalgam was 944/ 2781.

79.10% Participation

Of Kashmir’s 19,21,179 electors, 1519761 turned out to vote which pushed poll participation to 79.10 percent, the highest ever. This indicated the involvement of the people in the exercise.


NC Gains

In a 76-member house, NC filled 39 berths, and Congress 24. This meant the ruling coalition had 63 of the 76 seats in the assembly. Of the 13 seats not with the ruling coalition, MUF had four seats, BJP 2 and the rest were with the independents.

Abdul-Gani-LonePC Gains

Abdul Gani Lone led Peoples Conference emerged runner up in Karnah, Handwara, Kupwara, Bandipore, and Khan Sahab.



A number of candidates, both winners and losers, were killed during the militancy that took off soon after. These included Peoples Conference founder Abdul Gani Lone (Handwara), MUF’s Abdul Razak Mir (Kulgam), Mohammad Ismail (Chadoora), Ghulam Nabi Mir (Beerwa), Mohammad Sultan (Bejbehara), NC’s Mushtaq Ahmad Lone (Kupwara), Ghulam Nabi Dar (Kulgam), Peer Mohammad Shafi (AAC/NC), Ghulam Qadir Niloora and his son Nazir Ahmad Niloora (Wachi) and independent lawmaker Mir Mustafa (Lasjan) whom Hizb-ul-Mujahideen hanged to death during early days of militancy. Ali Mohammad Nayak (Tral) survived an assassination bid.

Quick Migrants

A number of people who were in the MUF camp lost their interest and migrated within four years of the 1987 defeat. These included MUF contestants Ghulam Mohammad Safi (Baramulla), Syed Fayaz Naqshbandi (Nigeen), Mohammad Yousuf Shah (Amirakadal), who now live in PaK and Abdul Majid Bhat, an automobile engineer who is now working in Middle East. MUF leaders like Prof Ashraf Saraf, Mushtaq Jeelani (treasurer who is now living in Canada), Mehmood Sagar and Syed Abdullah Sheerazi also emigrated to PaK later.

Qazi’s Alliances

Qazi Nissar who had founded Ummat-e-Islami was a constituent of MUF. After MUF failed to accommodate some of his friends in the alliance, Qazi campaigned for his allies. His allies included Hakim Yasin in Khan Sahab and Ghulam Hassan Mir in Gulmarg. Both lost.

Dr Ghulam Qadir Wani
Dr Ghulam Qadir


Dr Ghulam Qadir Wani, the scholar who was literally the man behind the creation of MUF, was killed many years later after he was expelled from Jama’at.



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