Barring the Ladakh parliamentary constituency, majority of the contesting candidates lost their security deposit in five other Lok Sabha constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir where 51 of them even failed to get one per cent of the valid votes.
The BJP retained three parliamentary seats of Jammu, Udhampur and Ladakh, while the National Conference swept the polls in the Kashmir valley, winning all the three seats of Srinagar, Anantnag and Baramulla.
A total of 79 candidates were in the fray for the six parliamentary seats, but 63 of them lost their security deposit of Rs 25,000 and Rs 12,500 (for schedule tribe and scheduled caste candidates) as they failed to get the minimum required one-sixth (16.67 per cent) of the total polled valid votes, according to official data by the Election Commission of India.
The voting trend in the Jammu parliamentary constituency, where the highest 24 candidates were in the fray, revealed a direct contest between BJP’s Jugal Kishore and senior Congress leader and former minister Raman Bhalla.
While Kishore retained the seat for the party by getting 8,58,066 votes (58.02 per cent), Bhalla got 5,55,191 votes (37.54 per cent).
The rest of the 22 candidates, including patron of Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party Bhim Singh, Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan (DSS) founder and former BJP minister Lal Singh and BSP leader Badri Nath got below one per cent votes.
The constituency had recorded the highest 72.16 per cent polling in the state and only 2,618 among 14,78,795 voters pushed the NOTA button.
Similarly, the Udhampur parliamentary constituency, which was retained by union minister Jitendra Singh by a huge margin of 3.57 lakh votes defeating Dogra scion and Congress leader Vikramaditya Singh, saw 10 candidates loosing their security deposit.
The BJP’s candidate got 7,24,311 votes (61.38 per cent) against the Congress candidate who polled 3,67,659 votes (31.1 per cent).
Two other Rajputs in the fray — JKNPP chairman and former minister Harsh Dev Singh and DSS founder (Lal Singh) — got 2.06 and 1.61 per cent votes, respectively.
Seven other candidates got below one per cent votes despite the constituency recording the second highest voter turnout at 70.2 per cent. Among the 11.80 lakh voters, 7568 voters preferred NOTA.
In Srinagar, where only 14.1 per cent of over 12.94 lakh electorate exercised their right, 10 of the 12 candidates lost their deposits with eight even failing to reach one per cent mark.
National Conference president Farooq Abdullah retained the seat by getting 1,06,750 votes (57.14 per cent), defeating Aga Syed Mohsin of the PDP, who got 36,700 votes (19.64 per cent).
People’s Conference candidate Irfan Raza Ansari was the only other candidate who managed double figures with 15.4 per cent (28,773 votes).
The 83-year-old Abdullah — the three-time former chief minister — has so far lost an election only once in his 42-year political career since his debut in 1980. This was his fourth win in the parliamentary elections.
The Anantnag parliamentary constituency, where the second highest 18 candidates, including former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, were locked in a multi-cornered contest, saw 15 candidates losing their security deposits.
The seat, where election was held in three phases due to security concerns, registered the lowest voter turnout of only 8.76 per cent in the state. It was won by National Conference candidate and former judge Hasnain Masoodi.
Masoodi got 40,180 votes (32.17 per cent), followed by state Congress chief G A Mir, who got 33,504 votes (26.83 per cent).
Mufti, who had won the seat in 2014 before resigning to become the first women chief minister in 2016, polled only 30,524 votes (24.44 per cent).
A dozen other candidates, including BJP’s Sofi Yousuf, failed to reach double figures as far as the voting percentage is concerned. Eleven of the candidates ended up below one per cent.
The Baramulla parliamentary constituency was won by senior NC leader Mohammad Akbar Lone after securing 1,33,426 (29.29 per cent) votes, defeating Raja Aijaz Ali of the Peoples’ Conference, who got 1,03,193 (22.65 per cent). Engineer Rashid managed 1,02,168 votes (22.43 per cent).
The constituency has recorded the highest 34.71 per cent voting in the Valley. Six of the candidates, including from the PDP, the Congress and the BJP, got only 11.75 (53,530), 7.58 (34,532) and 1.73 per cent (7,894 votes), respectively.
While two candidates received below one per cent votes, the NOTA got the maximum 1.78 per cent (8,055 votes) in the constituency, which was the highest in all the six seats in the state.
Incidentally, forty-five candidates had secured far less votes than NOTA which had got a total of 21,724 votes across the state.