Celebrations erupt in Kupwara as Engineer Rashid trounces Omar Abdullah

SRINAGAR — Celebrations broke out in Langate area of Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara district after former MLA Sheikh Abdul Rashid defeated National Conference (NC) vice president Omar Abdullah by a huge margin in the Baramulla Lok Sabha seat.

Hundreds of supporters of ‘Engineer Rashid’, as the jailed leader is popularly known, thronged his native village Lach Mawar in Langate assembly segment of the north Kashmir district to congratulate his family, especially his sons who led his campaign.

Rashid, who is currently in Tihar jail on militant charges, emerged as a giant-slayer of the parliamentary polls in Jammu and Kashmir. He has represented Langate in the erstwhile J&K assembly twice.

Rashid’s supporters — men, women and youth — dawned on his village after the news of his unassailable lead over Abdullah, a former chief minister, came in.

The crowd got bigger with each minute especially after Abdullah conceded defeat and congratulated Rashid. People were seen lining up in long queues towards Rashid’s residence.

The supporters burst crackers and raised slogans in his favour.

Rashid’s brother Sheikh Khurshid thanked the people of the constituency for voting in huge numbers for him.

“This is not our win, but people’s win. We are thankful to the people, especially youth and women who played an important role,” he told reporters outside Rashid’s residence.

He said some people might think of voters as their inheritance, “but today, a common man has shown that a voter is not anyone’s inheritance and every candidate stands to win”.

He assured the people that Rashid’s constituency in-charges across the parliamentary seat would address their issues.

“I am hopeful as a voter that we will get a better representation in the Parliament now,” he added.

The jailed leader’s brother said the demand for his release from prison was now not restricted to his family.

“As a family member, we used to demand that he be released, but, now it is not just about the family, Rashid now represents 17.5 lakh people. So, the government should respect the sentiments, aspirations and the people’s political representation in Parliament and release him soon,” he said.

He said he has not spoken to Rashid about the results.

“I do not think Rashid would know that he has won,” Khurshid added.

“We miss him…but today, we do not feel it as we have seen so much love of people and their acceptance of their representative,” he said.

Meanwhile, celebrations also erupted in Budgam, the native town of NC candidate Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi who won from Srinagar Lok Sabha seat.

Some celebrations were also held at Babanagri, the native village of NC’s senior Gujjar leader Mian Altaf who defeated PDP president Mehbooba Mufti by a huge margin in the Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha seat. — (PTI)