OPINION

Er. RASHID lost the elections, but not without surprising all!

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By: SAJAD LONE

‘Er Rashid Will not contest parliamentary polls but will support NC’- this was the news that was circulating on social media before the recently concluded LS polls in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. However, Er Rashid denied this news and called on a number of urgent meetings with his party workers across his home constituency Langate as well as at other places to decide his party’s participation in parliamentary polls. This, many of his close associates believe, has always been a characteristic of Er Rashid that he discusses almost everything with his party workers.

After conducting meetings with different blocks of his constituency, Er Rashid called for a press conference in Srinagar where he decided to contest from Baramulla parliamentary constituency. Compared to other parties, Er Rashid's AIP was very late in its decision. He had to campaign alone in fifteen segments of Baramulla parliamentary constituency. This was the most difficult task for Er Rashid, however he accepted the challenge & started his poll campaign from Handwara, where a huge crowd joined him. The huge crowd gave a boost to Er Rashid & he intensified his poll campaign.  He campaigned in his own car. He has no security cover. Prior to the elections, everyone that Er Rashid is only rattling the apple cart of the mainstream parties but later he actually stunned, surprised  everyone by scoring 102158.

Many people believed that Er Rashid would cut into the vote banks of all three major parties, but the fact is that Er Rashid has actually turned out to be a game changer in this Lok Sabha election & many people actually declared him as the man of the match.

He gave a tough competition to both NC & PC & actually overwhelmingly overshadowed some major political parties like, PDP & INC. Surprisingly enough, even Er's workers believed  that his participation will only safeguard his Langate assembly vote bank but the overwhelming response outside the Langate changed the mind of Er Rashid & inspired him to reach every corner of Baramulla parliamentary constituency. For other parties, like NC, PDP, PC & INC, it was not a difficult job to reach each individual as they had attractive political faces from every assembly segment but for Er Rashid, he really was a one man army.

From Karnah to Uri , Bandipora to Pattan, Er Rashid campaigned alone and used Facebook as a prior tool to keep his followers and admirers updated. Whenever he would go anywhere to address a gathering, he would go live from his official Facebook page to attract more & more people. His street agitations, his arrests and his sloganeering reverberate on Facebook. His videos get hundreds of shares and thousands watch them. In absence of any, so called, financial backing, he literally ran the 2019 Lok Sabha election campaign on his Facebook page.

Besides Handwara & Kupwara Er Rashid also conducted road shows & rallies in volatile areas like Sopore & Baramulla which Rashid feels was equal to creating history as the mainstream political parties still hesitate to hold public meetings in such sensitive areas. Rashid was seen in the middle of the night while addressing gatherings under mobile phone torches. On 8th April in Zirhama village of Kupwara, Er Rashid could be seen in a live video addressing a gathering around 1 pm. He used to conduct around 30 rallies every day. Er Rashid got  overwhelming responses  from crowds  in URI, LOLAB ,TANGMARG & Kupwara.

In Tangmarg DNP president Hassan Mir extended his support to Er Rashid & got him around 14 thousand votes. Simultaneously, JKPM founder Shah Faesal also wrote a Facebook post in favour of Er Rashid just three days before voting. Er Rashids one man show created a major worry for the otherwise well entrenched National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Peoples Conference. Er Rashids score in recent baramulla parliamentary polls has sent a strong message to his rivals. What Rashid has done, most importantly, has flustered Sajad Lone and took away the jaunt from his dream, who until recently was hoping to become the chief minister by winning key seats in the same north Kashmir block.

Er Rashids major success was to win, URI home constituency of PC candidate, where PC candidate Raja Ajaz was left way behind by Er Rashid. In Uri Er Rashid got 13652 while Raja Ajaz got mere 8407. These leads have dampened the plans of Lone's Peoples Conference that hoped to pocket more seats in the next Assembly election to help its ally, the BJP, in coming to power in the state again. By winning five assembly seats, Er Rashid has shattered the dreams of Sajad Lones people's Conference. The election results have been encouraging. Rashid is leading in five constituencies of north Kashmir including Karnah, Langate, Uri, Baramulla and Tangmarg, putting him in a head-to-head fight with the National Conference, come the next Assembly election.

Despite successfull road shows & rallies Er Rashid failed to break the boycott in Sopore & Baramulla area's, even his own assembly constituency recorded low turnout compared to last parliamentary elections. However Er Rashid believes & he recently wrote in one of his article that Boycott was facilitated by his opponents as they have threat of me winning the elections

People also believe that If the boycott areas of Sopor, Baramulla  Pallhallan & Rafiabad have voted most possibly the results would have been in favour of Er Rashid then. However Er Rashid stunned everyone by polling 1,01500 votes as an Independent candidate from Baramulla parliamentary constituency, 31,192 votes behind the National Conference's winning candidate, Akbar Lone and 827 votes less than his rival Sajad Lone's Peoples Conference.

This all doesn't end here, the J&K state may soon have assembly elections, & its difficult to guess who will form the government here.

In Baramulla Parliamentary constituency, NC took lead in 8 Assembly segments, AIP in 5 segments and PC in 2 while PDP didn’t take lead in a single segment when it had won 7 Assembly seats in last elections from North Kashmir. Will Er Rashids AIP be successful to maintain his influence in these five segments, that has to see.

The writer is an intern at Democracy News Live

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