The by-election to Anantnag assembly segment, where Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti seeks mandate, is going to be a first litmus test for her. The seat fell vacant because of the death of the then Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed who represented Anantnag assembly constituency in the 87 member state assembly. She is currently Member of Parliament representing Anantnag Lok Sabha seat which is also required to be vacated in case she win this by-election. Mehbooba has already started her election campaign by addressing roadside rallies in South Kashmir’s Anantnag constituency, seeking support from the people to fulfill her father’s unfinished agenda of peace and development in the valley. The election earlier was scheduled to be held on June 19 but now has been postponed to June 22 at the request of several political parties. Eight candidates, including Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, are in the fray for this by-election. Since PDP-BJP government formed in the state, the main opposition parties like National Conference (NC) and Congress are targeting PDP for its unholy alliance with BJP for the sake of power. In election campaign the leaders of both parties are leaving no stone unturned by raking up other unnecessary issues like separate township for Kashmiri Pandit and Sainik Colony, citing a threat to special status of J&K state. It is pertinent to mention here that result of this crucial election would definitely affect PDP-BJP coalition government in the days to come as this is the first election after tailoring this coalition government, which even late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed described a meet of North and South Pole. In case Mehbooba Mufti manages to win then the result would serve fixing of stump of people of Valley on this coalition partner.
There is no doubt that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who is known for its dynamic leadership qualities and boldness, would not only come out of this first litmus test but would also meet coming challenge with courage and bring the state out of disturbance, facing the state for last more than two decades. The people of Anantnag would also give their verdict keeping in view the development and peace of J&K state.