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56 first-timers in 87-member J&K Assembly

Jammu and Kashmir poll

Srinagar: The 12th Legislative Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir will have nearly 65 per cent new faces as only 31 of the 87 newly-elected MLAs have previously been member the House.

As many as 56 winners have been elected to the Lower House of the state legislature for first time, while 26 MLAs managed to retain their membership. Five others have made a comeback to the House after staying out for six to 12 years.

Two National Conference MLAs have managed to win the Assembly polls for a sixth time – equalling the record held by their colleague and former Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather whose dream run of 37 years as MLA of Chrar-e-Sharief ended with his defeat to PDP’s Ghulam Nabi Lone yesterday.

The BJP, which won 25 seats, has the highest number of first-timers. Twenty-two BJP MLAs will experience their stint in the Assembly for the first time, while Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which emerged as the single largest party with 28 MLAs, have 19 new faces.

Six new faces will be part of the 12-member Congress Legislature Party in the new Assembly which will also have five new faces from NC and two from Peoples Conference including separatist-turned politician Sajjad Ghani Lone.

Two Independent members – Pawan Kumar Gupta and Syed Bakir Rizvi – are also first-timers in the Assembly.

Prominent among the first-time MLAs included banker- turned-PDP leader Haseeb Drabu (Rajpora), his businessman colleague Altaf Bukhari (Amirakadal) and outgoing Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s close confidant Devender Singh Rana (Nagrota).

Omar was among the 31 MLAs from various parties who have earlier been elected to the Assembly.

Although Omar lost the election from the Sonawar constituency of Srinagar district by a margin of over 4,700 votes to PDP’s Mohammad Ashraf Mir, he managed to win the Beerwah constituency in Budgam district defeating his nearest rival from Congress by a slender margin of over 900 votes.

Omar had won the last Assembly elections in 2008 from the Ganderbal seat but decided to contest from Sonawar and Beerwah this time.

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