The National Conference (NC), on Thursday, staged a comeback in the Lok Sabha from Jammu and Kashmir by completely uprooting Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP that failed to retain even a single seat in the state. Of the total number of six Lok Sabha seats in the state, the NC and BJP shared three seats each as the latter maintained its turf in the state.

The NC swept all the three seats of the Kashmir valley where alleged tinkering of the Articles 370 and 35A by the BJP had become a major electoral issue.

Congress, which contested on five seats, drew a blank in these elections. The BJP retained three seats, Jammu, Udhampur and Ladakh, which it had won in the 2014 elections. However, all the three candidates of the party in the Kashmir valley forfeited their security deposit.

NC chief, Farooq Abdullah, retained the prestigious Srinagar seat with a margin of more than 70,000 votes over Aga Syed Mohsin of PDP. There were a total number of 13 candidates for the seat.

BJP’s Dr Jitendera Singh, minister of state in the PMO, again won the Udhampur seat but with the highest margin in the state of about 3.50 lakh votes. He defeated Congress’s Vikramaditya Singh who was for the first time trying his luck for the Lok Sabha, 40 years after his father and veteran Congress leader, Dr Karan Singh, had lost the election from Udhampur.

A former BJP minister, Lal Singh, who had formed his own Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan Party, failed to make any dent in the vote bank of Dr Jitendera Singh in Udhampur. Lal Singh’s performance in Jammu was also far below expectations.

The NC and PDP did not field their candidates in Jammu and Udhampur where they supported the Congress candidates. Former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti’s defeat in terrorism infested South Kashmir’s Anantnag was on the expected lines and the seat was won by a newcomer in politics and a former judge of the High Court, Hasan Masoodi, who contested on the NC ticket. The state Congress chief, GA Mir, maintained a lead in the initial rounds of counting but later ended on the second number followed by Mehbooba.

People in Kashmir, in general, had not relished the PDP sharing power with the BJP in the state and that was one of the reasons for the party’s humiliating defeat.

After winning the election, a jubilant Farooq Abdullah said, “My priorities will be to safeguard article 35-A and 370, to improve the situation here and I hope Modi takes everyone forward”.

Former chief minister and NC leader Omar Abdullah tweeted, “So the exit polls were correct. All that’s left is to congratulate the BJP & NDA for a stellar performance. Credit where credit is due PM Modi Sahib & Mr Amit Shah put together a winning alliance & a very professional campaign. Bring on the next five years”.

Reacting to her defeat, Mehbooba tweeted, “I’ve been fortunate to get the love & affection of my people. They have every right to express their anger for my failings. Accept their verdict with humility. Congratulations to winning candidates from NC. I’m grateful to my party workers & colleagues”.

In another tweet, she said, “Congratulations to Narendra Modi ji for a historic mandate. Today surely belongs to BJP and its allies. Time for Congress to get an Amit Shah (in an apparent jibe at Rahul Gandhi).”

As the election results came in, terrorists tossed grenades at a CRPF bunker outside the Tagore Hall in the heart of Srinagar and also at a police station in South Kashmir’s Awantipura.

BJP’s Jugal Kishore retained the Jammu seat defeating Raman Bhalla of the Congress with a margin of about 2.86 lakh votes. NC’s Mohammad Akbar Lone wrested the North Kashmir’s Baramulla seat from the PDP with a margin of about 30,000 votes defeating among others the candidates of Congress, PDP, Peoples Conference and independents. An Independent, Engineer Rashid, who is considered as the face of separatists, initially led in Baramulla but later Lone went far ahead of him.

Jamyang Tsering Namgyal of BJP won the Ladakh seat with a comfortable margin of about 5000 votes over Independent Sajjad Hussain. The Congress candidate Rigzin Spalbar lost as the rebel Asgarali Karbalai bagged nearly 20,000 votes.