Engineer Rashid Factor

(MENAFN- Kashmir Observer)

The jailed Kashmiri politician Engineer Rashid's decision to contest the ongoing Lok Sabha polls from the Baramulla parliamentary seat has added an unexpected twist to the election campaign in North Kashmir. His entry into the electoral fray has injected a new factor into what was previously perceived as a two-way contest between the National Conference (NC) and the People's Conference (PC). The implications of Rashid's candidacy are profound and promise to make the North Kashmir constituency a battleground like never before.

Rashid, who is currently incarcerated in Tihar Jail, has fielded his son, Abrar Rashid, to campaign on his behalf. Despite his father's absence, Abrar has been actively engaging with the electorate, conducting roadshows and rallies throughout the constituency. The response to these campaigns has been overwhelming, especially among the youth, who see Rashid as a symbol of resistance against the status quo.


One of the key factors that make Rashid's candidacy significant is his potential to influence and divide votes across various assembly segments. In the 2019 parliamentary elections, Rashid managed to secure over 1 lakh votes, a testament to his popularity and support base in the region. His appeal cuts across party lines, and his entry into the race has forced both the NC and the PC to reassess their strategies.

For the NC, led by Omar Abdullah, Rashid's candidacy poses a significant challenge. While the party has traditionally enjoyed strong support in North Kashmir, Rashid's presence has the potential to eat into its voter base. Similarly, the PC, led by Sajad Lone, is facing an unexpected hurdle in its bid to consolidate power in the region. Rashid's popularity, coupled with the sympathy factor due to his incarceration, has made him a formidable contender in the race for the Baramulla seat.

He candidacy has also brought to the fore the complex web of alliances and rivalries that define Kashmiri politics. With the BJP eyeing the Baramulla seat in collaboration with its allies, the electoral dynamics have become even more convoluted. While the BJP is hoping to capitalize on the division of votes between Rashid and the traditional Kashmiri parties, the former's supporters remain undeterred.

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Rashid's brand of politics, which is characterized by its unapologetic stance on issues such as Kashmiri autonomy and human rights, has struck a chord with many in the region. His entry into the electoral process has made the North Kashmir contest more interesting and unpredictable than ever before. Regardless of the outcome of the election, Rashid's presence has already left a mark.


Kashmir Observer

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