Ending suspense, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti has finally decided to step into her late father’s shoes and contest the assembly polls from Anantnag constituency, which had fallen vacant after the demise of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7.It will be the first popularity test for Mehbooba after she joined hands with BJP after playing hard ball for two-and-a-half months in a bid to renegotiate the terms of agenda of alliance and pressure BJP-led Centre to announce some confidence- building measures.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mehbooba, who is currently People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Lok Sabha member from Anantnag, is filing her nomination papers on Wednesday. The bye-polls for the constituency will be held on June 19.This time the BJP has decided not to field any candidate against Mehbooba from Anantnag. It will be for the first time when there will be a sort of pre-poll arrangement between the PDP and BJP in the state.Last time, BJP had fielded Mohammad Rafiq Wani against late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in Anantnag constituency and he had bagged 1,275 votes.”We will not field any candidate against Mehbooba Mufti. We will extend all our support to the honourable chief minister in the polls. She will secure the highest number of votes in this election,” Khalid Jehangir, spokesman of BJP for Kashmir, told dna.However, Congress candidate Hilal Ahmad Shah is giving a tough contest to Mehbooba from Anantnag constituency. Shah had lost to her father by just 6000 votes in 2014 assembly elections.This time Shah is trying his luck against Mufti’s daughter in the same constituency. Late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had bagged 16,983 votes while Shah had got 10,955 votes in 2014 assembly elections.”This time Mehbooba will lose her deposit. People are very angry because of her handshake with BJP and RSS. People want to teach them a lesson in a democratic manner. I have been living amongst people all through and I can see the wave against Mehbooba and her party,” Shah told dna.National Conference (NC), which had finished third by bagging 2,403 votes in 2014, has again fielded Iftikhar Hussain Misger against Mehbooba in Anantnag. Misger was last-minute entry in 2014 since NC candidate Mehboob Beg had defected to PDP and supported Mufti Mohommad Sayeed.”It is a one sided contest and Mehbooba Ji will win with the biggest margin. It is a cakewalk for her. There is nobody who can defeat her in Anantnag”, said Mehboob Beg, chief spokesman of PDP.Speculations are also rife that Mehbooba’s brother Mufti Tasaduq Hussain may contest the Lok Sabha polls from Anantnag constituency after his sister is elected to assembly. “Party will decide who will be the candidate for Anantnag parliamentary polls,” said Beg.
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