Sonwar Heads for Triangular Contest; Mir, Omar, and Bilal likely in fray

KL Report


The high profile Sonwar constituency of Srinagar city is heading for a tough triangular contest with all the three major parties, National Conference, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Congress eying on the seat by proposing strongest candidates to ensure their win.

While Chief Minister Omar Abdullah continues to maintain suspense over the constituency from where he is planning to contest assembly elections, speculations are rife that he may also opt for Sonwar assembly segment – the constituency once held by his father Dr Farooq Abdullah.

As per a local news agency, CNS, the main opposition PDP and partner in state coalition- Congress have also put high stakes in the constituency with PDP having already fielded  heavyweight businessman turned politician, Mohammad Ashraf Mir, and the Congress planning to bring much younger  candidate Peer Bilal Ahmed in the fray.

The Seat was previously won by  Dr Farooq Abdullah and then in a bye-Election by Mohammad Yaseen Shah of National Conference by a margin of 54 and 212 votes respectively by defeating the candidates of People’s Democratic Party GQ Pardasi and Mohammad Ashraf Mir.

However, the constituency has witnessed several changes in the political scenario with the emergence of two more players, thereby making it a triangular contest between National Conference, PDP and Congress.

The PDP has already nominated the businessman turned politician, Mir, who has already made his presence felt by giving a much needed lead to the PDP candidate in the recently held Parliamentary Elections which resulted in a shocking first time defeat to the National Conference President and former Chief Minister of the State, Dr Abdullah. He was defeated for the first time in his political career of over fourty years. The results have projected Mohammad Ashraf Mir as a potential contender for winning this seat besides the anti-incumbency factor in favour of the opposition also adds to his electoral prospects.

The other factor which has emerged from this constituency is the rise of Peer Bilal Ahmad son of a prominent religious preacher and Peer of Harwan area having followers all over the Kashmir Division numbering in lakhs.

Besides this he has been politically active in the area for a long time and claim to have tirelessly worked for socio-economic upliftment of the people living in hilly areas of the constituency besides locals as well.

Having enjoyed close association in the Congress high command, he is also believed to be instrumental in ensuring the announcement and establishment of a major Hospital in his area, development of religious places, widening, and construction of innumerable roads and bridges besides other developmental activities as well.

Owing to his family background, Peer also holds sway in other Assembly segments like Hazratbal, Pulwama, Ganderbal as well.

All these factors combined are likely to make the elections to the constituency more tough and interesting for the other candidates in the fray.

Going by the critical evaluation of the constituency it can be divided into three segments, Brane Nishat to Khimbar- Faqir Gujri (Harwan area), Gagribal to Sonwar and from Padrathen to Khonmouh. The last results have shown that Harwan area and Pandrathan to Khonmouh segments decide the winner of the seat as the area from the Gagribal to Sonwar goes with the boycott or the percentage of the votes poled is very thin. This can compound the things for Omar Abdullah and if it turns out to be a triangular contest, then he has to get the votes from the areas where people come to vote rather than those boycotting the polls. (CNS)


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