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Engineer Rashid emerges as Kashmir's biggest winner after Lok Sabha election, makes mockery of 'joker' tag
Engineer Rashid emerges as Kashmir's biggest winner after Lok Sabha election, makes mockery of 'joker' tag

New Delhi, May 27 (TIWN): For his adversaries, Engineer Sheikh Abdul Rashid is a 'dramebaaz', a scripted actor in a scripted play. In the last session of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly when he jumped into the well of the Lower House to protest killings and rampant human rights violations, political bigwigs burst into laughter. He looked, as they privately would often say, "like a joker".

Rashid, 51, a former MLA from Langate constituency in north Kashmir, stunned everyone by polling 1,01500 votes as an Independent candidate from Baramulla parliamentary constituency, 31,192 votes behind the National Conference's winning candidate, Akbar Lone and 827 votes less then his rival Sajad Lone's Peoples Conference.

What Rashid has done, most importantly, is to ruin the dream of Lone, who until recently was hoping to become the chief minister by winning key seats in the same north Kashmir block. Lone was considered to be chief ministerial material with just two seats in his kitty in the last Assembly elections that had made him, in the political circles of Jammu and Kashmir, a force to reckon with.

But no one had guessed that the man with a black SUV, a driver and a personal assistant, and without committed workers, buntings, tents and, most importantly, without money, would take on such a mammoth political grouping like the Peoples Conference and National Conference, as he has done in the just-concluded Lok Sabha election.

"I have come here to tell you that I have no money and no friends in Delhi. They jail me and throw ink on me. BJP says I am Pakistani. National Conference says I am a sellout. PDP says I am the man of agencies and the Peoples Conference says I am joker," he told one gathering during the run-up to the General Election, as crowds held mobile phone torches in their hands in the middle of the night in north Kashmir's Palhalan village, where mainstream political parties still hesitate to hold public meetings. The crowd in front of him erupted into applause.

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