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It’s going to be tough for all in Langate Poll Battle

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By: Arif Abu Fida

Though Election Commission is yet to announce the schedule for state assembly elections and people have started seeing break-ups as well as alliances of politicians, apart from allegations and counter allegations amongst different political parties. And when it comes to politics, Langate has been historically at the forefront to defend its interests, a decades old pattern here. The bugle of election here is likely to give rise to resurgence of political trade- and therefore, a diversity of possibilities.

The existence of Congress party in Langate is almost null and void since the exit of its senior leader, M. Amin Khan. I would not be amazed if congress party decides against contesting assembly elections from Langate.

Differences within party cadre since the death of late Mufti Mohd Sayeed has finally tipped off a tired and PDP is, slowly but surely, heading towards self-induced disintegration. Successive exits have left the party reeling and its leader, Mehbooba Mufti struggling hard to hold her flock together. That is probably the reason PDP is reluctant in holding elections sooner. On 18th January, Governor Satya Pal Malik had said that barring PDP, all political parties of JK are willing for an early election.

In Langate even, PDP has worries to share. The party is unlikely to find a winning replacement for Mohd Sultan Pandithpori in the coming assembly elections as well. In a recent set back, Irfan Pandithpori had parted ways with PDP and joined Sajad Lone’s Peoples Conference. If Pandithporis have exhibited a dismal performance in couple of previous elections even when they were united, it will surely be a hopeless situation for divided Pandithporis to do any good in the forthcoming elections. Yet, I have no reason to not wishing both of them ‘best of luck’ for the crucial trial coming ahead.

So, one may say that the political turf of north Kashmirs Langate constituency has to witness a triangular contest between Peoples Conference, National Conference and AIP.

Induction of Irfan Pandithpori into PC may give rise to another twist, surely disfavouring Sajad Lones PC. Irfan is serious about contesting coming assembly elections on behalf of Peoples Conference, thus kicking Adv. Mohd Abdullah Mir out of the frame. Worth mentioning here that Adv Mir joined Peoples Conference days before 2014 assembly elections and contested the said elections on behalf of PC. He, however, lost to Er Rasheed and it is likely that Adv Mir may explore other available options in the coming assembly elections if eclipsed by Irfan Pandithpori. Observers believe it will result in a disfavor to Peoples Conference than anything else. Surely, an equilibrium Sajad would never wish.

Meanwhile, PC too may be in a fix whom to project as party candidate in this constituency. However, speculation is rife that PC chief may eventually opt for a new face in the larger interests of the party. But by-passing a senior leader may not favour the party at all. Let’s not forget Adv Mir has bagged more than 4000 votes as an independent candidate and finished 3rd in 2009 assembly elections. It is in all likelihood that PC chief may land himself in a sorry state of affairs. At that crossroads, he has to act wisely.

National Conference may be eyeing for a complete sweep in the upcoming state elections given the fact that its arch rival PDP is losing base in almost all parts of the state owing to party chief’s unproductive decisions and alleged dictatorship. Both party president and vice president have earnestly appealed to the people of Jammu and Kashmir for a decisive mandate. Jokes apart, given the tough times PDP is passing through, people might not be surprised if NC comes out as the single largest party in the forthcoming state assembly elections. Besides, NC is said to be the only party that is represented in all the three divisions of JK-Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.

However, here in Langate, NC has been trying for years to retrieve its lost glory since the assassination of late Ab Ahad Kar. They have been searching for a sage candidate- a candidate who can give tough contest particularly to Er Rasheed. Their search seems unending. Different faces have been introduced, none seemed to have convinced the party top brass. However, if rumors are to be believed, Bashir Ahmad Qureshi is getting green signal by the party high command. Qureshi, son-in-law of former MP Sharief-U-Din Shariq, is a retired govt servant and holds a significant knowledge of regional politics. His introduction into state politics would certainly make a remarkable impact on the overall political scenario of the constituency. Who knows, it may mark the beginning of a new chapter for this regional unit of National Conference.

Politics is utilizing an opportunity and Er Rasheed hardly misses any. During his short span of political career, he has emerged as the most popular political entity across length and breadth of the state. He has introduced himself as empathetic among masses right from beginning, hence remained undefeated since his induction into politics. He is also hoping for his third consecutive victory in the forthcoming poll battle. Luckily for him, his political rivals seem facilitating his hat-trick.

Irfan Pandithpori is desperate to make his allegiance (with PC) evident. But analysts believe he will end up with just dividing PDP votes into Irfan loyalists and Gh Nabi Loyalists which, in turn, will favour Er. Rasheed who has understandably maintained a shocking silence. Gh Nabi Pandityhpori, uncle of Irfan Pandithpori was preferred over by party cadre to contest 2014 assembly elections from Langate who, however, lost to Er Rasheed miserably.  Since then, he has been looking for an opportunity which he found in Sajad Lone’s party. Now, who actually is being favoured with his entrance into PC- PC or AIP- only time will tell!

It is also a fact that Er. Rasheed has often said that none but PDP’s Pandithporis pose a serious threat to him in way of his political career. Damn sure, he might be enjoying the drama being played by Pandithpori duo, besides offering eternal thanks to both. Though he is yet to blow his poll bugle, he seems much ahead of the game.

To conclude, as the road gets tougher amid unclear public mood, it would surely be an uphill task for the contesting candidates to get through the trial exhibition ahead. Of course, the journey ahead is going to be a tightrope walk which demands all commuters to be some sort of acrobats.

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