The contest in Kargil, which votes on Tuesday, is more between two religious groups than among political parties. The Islamia School has supported PDP candidate Haji Inayat, while the Imam Khomeni Memorial Trust has thrown its weight behind Congress candidate Asghar Karblaie, also chief executive councillor of Kargil Hill Development Council.
Both organisations represent Shia Muslims, who are 90 per cent of the population; the electorate is 59,440.
In 2002, both had backed Haji Nissar, who won as an independent defeating former minister Qamar Ali Akhoon of the NC by over 6,000 votes. In 2008, Akhoon wrested the seat back with Islamia School’s support. This time, the NC has replaced Akhoon with Dr Kachoo Hussain, son of a former legislator.
The PDP’s Inayat is a former youth president with Islamia School. The group pledged its support to him during a visit by former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who in turn promised to open the Eskardo-Kargil route.
The Congress’s Karblaie, banking on the support of IKMT, says, “Our party has brought many projects to this area. Kargil will fall into our kitty.”
The BJP candidate, Abdul Aziz Munshi, is a son of former minister Habibullah Munshi. In August, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had held a large rally in Kargil.