Srinagar: The National Conference, which is emerging as the single largest party in a hung assembly in Jammu and Kashmir, has made a clean sweep of the eight constituencies in Srinagar.
Considered to be stronghold of separatists, the city recorded 20% polling in the final phase of elections held on 24 December.
NC patron Farooq Abdullah won from both the constituencies of Hazratbal and Sonawar. The immediate rival of Abdullah in both the seats were PDP candidates.
The PDP suffered a shock defeat in Batmaloo constituency where its former minister and general secretary Tariq Hameed Karra lost to Irfan Shah of NC by a margin of 2,500 votes.
Karra had wrested the seat from NC in a bypoll in 2004.
NC candidates Mubarak Gul, Ali Mohammad Sagar, Shameema Firdous, Naseer Ahmad Wani and Pir Aafaq won from Idgah, Khanyar, Habba Kadal, Amirakadal and Zadibal constituencies, respectively.
In 2002 elections, National Conference had bagged five city seats while two went to Independents and another was won by the Congress.
However, PDP made a clean sweep of Pulwama and Shopian districts winning all the six seats (four in Pulwama and two in Shopian) and also did well in Anantnag and Kulgam districts winning six of the ten seats.
NC leader Omar Abdullah may be a potential chief ministerial candidate in Jammu and Kashmir but he has already won an endorsement from his political family that also had Congress links.
Virtually endorsing Omar Abdullah for the Chief Ministership, NC patron Farooq Abdullah said his son could better serve the people of the border state and he himself would prefer to remain in Parliament.
“Why not? Omar is a young man. If he could serve better, why not?” Abdullah said in Srinagar when asked if Omar could be the choice of the National Conference for the chief minister’s post. Omar is making a debut in the state Assembly.
Young Congress leader Sachin Pilot, who is married to Omar’s sister Sarah, also rooted for his brother-in-law for the top post saying he is capable of handling the responsibility.
“He is a hard-working man. He is also a bright Member of Parliament and I think whatever responsibility is entrusted to him, he can handle it perfectly,” Pilot told PTI in New Delhi.
“Omar is a matured person,” he said.
Pilot, Congress MP from Dausa in Rajasthan, said it augurs well for the country whenever young people are entrusted with such responsibilities.
Farooq Abdullah, a former Chief Minister, who is a Rajya Sabha member, said he would like to continue in the Upper House of Parliament. “I would rather be in Parliament,” he said.