New Delhi: In a major setback for Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), its president and former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti is trailing from Anantnag in Jammu and Kashmir in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

National Conference’s Hasnain Masoodi has taken the lead who is followed by Congress’ Ghulam Ahmad Mir is also a few votes ahead of Mufti.

Anantnag was once a PDP stronghold and Mufti has never lost an election. Most of the exit polls had predicted a huge loss for Mufti.

The election holds a lot of significate for this terror hit constituency. Even the future of former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti is at stake during this election. The Anantnag Lok Sabha seat, one of Jammu and Kashmir’s six Lok Sabha constituencies, has remained vacant for almost three years now.

In 2014, Mehbooba had won the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat by defeating NC candidate Mehboob Beg by more than 65,000 votes. When Mehbooba became J&K chief minister in 2016 after her father’s demise, she got elected from her father’s assembly seat and vacated her Lok Sabha seat with an intention to field her younger brother Tasaduq Mufti from there.

The by-poll to fill the seat could not take place as poll officials felt the security situation was not conducive.

Anantnag has witnessed a triangular contest between Mehbooba Mufti, NC candidate Justice Hasnain Masoodi (retd) and Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress president Ghulam Ahmad Mir.

Mir is an experienced politician and former minister, while the NC has picked a retired justice as its candidate and is hoping that resentment against the PDP could help the party. The BJP has also fielded its only Muslim legislator from Kashmir, Sofi Yousuf, from the constituency.

At the time of the previous Lok Sabha elections in 2014, Anantnag had 1,301,023 registered electors – 684,820 of them male and 616,203 female. The constituency had seen a 28.84% voter turnout in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. In Anantnag the male voter turnout was 30.90% and 26.57% female voters turned out for voting.