Constituency profile: Beerwah

SRINAGAR:  Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, is trying his luck from Beerwah constituency of Central Kashmir’s Budgam district comprising of four tehsils, viz, Khag, Beerwah, Narbal and Magam, for the first time.

Keeping the track record of National Conference’s six years rule in sight, it will be no cakewalk for Omar Abdullah, analysts say. 

Political and social activists and prominent citizens from Beerwah constituency maintain that tere will be neck to neck contest between PDP candidate Dr Muhammad Shafi Wani and Omar Abdullah, in case Congress did not field the son of former PDP politician late Sarfaraz Ahmed Khan. 

In case Nazir Ahmed Khan joins fray, the contest will be directly between Dr Shafi Wani and him, they say.

“30 to 40 percent voters in the Constituency are Shia Muslim who vote in large numbers and these voters can play a decisive role in the elections” analysts said.

Omar Abdullah is in good books of people residing in hilly areas of Khag and its adjoining areas including Shunglipora, Sugan, Hamchipora, Poshkar as they feel it was only after the intervention of Omar Abdullah that the lease of Tosamaidan Firing Range was not extended. However, a large section of population feel that it will be no fun to elect Omar as they believe that his party stands little chance of forming the next government. 

“Majority of the people feel that they will again be at the receiving end in case Omar wins and PDP forms the next government. As a Chief Minister, he visited the Constituency only once and did nothing for its development,” they said.

Another section of people, particularly youth, feel that Beerwah was ignored by the coalition government and no development took place there during past six years. 

Muhammad Saleem, a college student said that during Omar Abdullah’s regime, neither Primary Health Centre, as promised to the people was upgraded and nor was the area given a Fire & Emergency Station. “Roads are in shambles, there is no electricity, mobile and internet connectivity is poor and you will not believe that it takes an hour to complete a distance of 9 kilometers from Magam to Beerwah due to pathetic road condition,” he said.

Political observers believe that among the four tehsils of Beerwah constituency, the voting in Khag will have a major impact on the results. They observe that Khag always witnesses highest voter turnout than other tehsils and here people will vote this time for the development.

National Conference Provincial President for Kashmir Province, Nasir Aslam Wani said  that Omar Abdullah did a lot for Ganderbal and now he wants to develop Beerwah, as according to him, it is a backward region and needs attention. “Omar Abdullah wants to do develop Beerwah as it is not only backward but ignored by every politician,” he told CNS.

In 2008 Assembly Elections, Beerwah witnessed a neck to neck contest wherewhere Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Shafi Ahmad Wani defeated his close rival Abdul Majeed Mattoo of National Conference with just 164 votes. While Wani got 24.42 percent from the total 57.11 polled votes, 11720, NC candidate and ex-registrar Kashmir University Matto got 11556, and his votes accounted for 21.29 percent.

In 2002 Assembly elections, it was Sarfarz Ahmed Khan of PDP who defeated his National Conference rival Muhammad Amin Banday by a margin of 11,000 votes. In recent Parliament elections, People Democratic Party secured 16876 votes in Beerwah assembly segment while National Conference got only 14,838 votes. 

Political Pundits feel that as PDP came to fore due to recent results that emerged from 2014 Parliament elections, the chances of PDP candidate are bright, however they added that charismatic Omar Abdulla may prove all wrong on the day when the results will be out.

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