Cong, PDP eying Muslim votes

J&K: Nagrota constituency becoming prestige for political parties

By News Agency of Kashmir,

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Jammu: Nagrota constituency in the Jammu district is all set to see an interesting fight as Muslim votes has started showing its impact even before the polling with two main parties Congress and PDP borrowing more and more time to finalize its candidates.

The seat which was represented by BJP’s Jugal Kishore Sharma in the previous in 2002 elections have more than 24,000 Muslim voters and acknowledging this fact the Congress and the PDP has not opened its cards yet though party president Mehbooba Mufti in one of her rally had announced Ved Mahajan as the PDP’s choice for Nagrota.

Sources in the PDP told News Agency of Kashmir that Party leadership particularly party patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed who is camping in Jammu for the last two days is persuading State Secretary Ashiq Hussain Khan to contest the elections from the Nagrota constituency. But Hussain is not interested to accept the offer at the eleventh hour of the elections complaining that why he was accommodated earlier at the time when Party had to finalize the names for the post MLC’s despite assurances for the same in the past.

“The party believes that Hussain has a chance to win the seat because of the large number of Muslim voters and his standing among the voters of other community also. A win for the party in Jammu is desperately needed as it faced revolt during the Jammu agitation” a senior leader of PDP to NAK while accepting that Mufti personally wants Hussain to contest from Nagrota.

Congress on the other hand, though has short listed the names of Hari Singh, Hamid Choudhary and Shiv Dev, is also waiting for the move of PDP to decide who will be the party’s candidate from Nagrota.

The party is in a dilemma whether to field a Muslim candidate or give ticket to a Hindu candidate because if PDP fields Hussain from the segment then it would be difficult for the congress to rope-in Muslim votes.

Given the circumstances, the prospectus of National Conference’s candidate Ajat Shatru Singh are bright because he belongs to a party which has strong hold among the Muslim voters as well as in other communities. He had lost the last assembly elections from Nagrota to his nearest rival Jugal Kishore Sharma of BJP’s with a margin of few votes.

On the other Jugal Kishore Sharma is seeking mandate on the basis of development in the area but the majority of voters are conscious about him as he belongs to the BJP, a party having not a good repute among the Muslims across the state.

Nagrota Assembly segment has 64,230 registered voters out of which 33,230 are male and 31,000 female voters. The total number of polling stations being set up is 64, as compared to 60 set up in 2002 Assembly elections.

Jugal Kishore of BJP was elected from this constituency in 2002 defeating his nearest NC rival Mr. Ajat Shatru Singh by a margin of 67 votes only. Jugal polled 10,653 votes while as Singh got 10,586 votes. The total electorate was 62,238 and overall votes polled were 39,723. The poll percentage was recorded at 63.72.

This constituency was known as Jindra Gharotra till 1983 and was represented by Mr. Ronak Singh of NC in 1962 elections. Ranjit Singh of the Congress won the 1967 election while as another Congress candidate Mrs. Shanta Bharati won the 1972 polls. Dhan Raj of JP represented the constituency in 1977 while as Bhalwan Singh and Shiv Dev Singh, both of INC, won from here in 1983 and 1987 elections respectively. Ajat Shatru Singh of the NC was elected from here in 1996 polls.