“Govt must respect verdict of people, release Engineer Rashid”: Mehbooba Mufti

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Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir): Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and PDP Chief, Mehbooba Mufti, on Wednesday congratulated Abdul Rashid Sheikh, the winner of the Baramulla Lok Sabha seat and urged the government to respect the people’s verdict and called for the release of Engineer Rashid.

“Heartfelt congratulations to Mian Altaf, Aga Ruhullah, Engineer Rashid & Haneefa Jan for winning the parliament elections. Government of India must respect the verdict of the people & release Engineer Rashid,” Mufti said in a post on X.
Abdul Rashid Sheikh, popularly known as Engineer Rashid, is a former MLA from north Kashmir. He is currently in jail on terror funding charges.

In the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, Engineer Rashid ran as an independent candidate for the Baramulla seat and defeated Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (JKNC) vice-president Omar Abdullah. He secured victory with a margin of 204142 votes and received 472481 votes. In the same election, Jammu and Kashmir JKN and BJP each won 2 seats, while independent candidate Abdul Rashid Sheikh secured one seat.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha election, the BJP fielded six candidates in Jammu and Kashmir but did not win any seats in Kashmir.
The Lok Sabha elections were conducted in seven phases- on April 19, April 26, May 7, May 13, May 20, May 25 and June 1. The counting of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections was held on Tuesday. According to the Election Commission of India, the BJP won 240 seats, much lower than its 2019 tally of 303. The Congress, on the other hand, registered a strong growth, winning 99 seats. The INDIA bloc crossed the 230 mark, posing stiff competition, and defying all predictions.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has secured a third term, along with the support of other parties in the coalition, primarily — the Nitish Kumar led JD(U) and the Chandrababu Naidu led TDP.  BJP fell 32 seats short of the 272 majority mark after votes polled in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections were counted. For the first time, since the Bharatiya Janata Party swept to power in 2014, it did not secure a majority on its own.

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