On Friday when counting started in Kathua former Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad initially established a clear lead over his rival candidate Dr Jitendra Singh of the BJP.
Till fifth round of counting Azad was way ahead and his supporters were jubilant. Then suddenly the trends started changing.
For some time it was a roller coaster ride for both the candidates. Moments later much to the chagrin of Azad and his poll managers he started trailing behind his rival candidate.
Till the last round of the counting Azad could not recover and failed to breach the lead margins of Dr Jitendra Singh.
The relevant question which crossed minds of his poll managers was how and where the Congress stalwart lost the plot.
As they started scratching their heads, sporting curious looks, the final counting statistics solved the puzzle.
The voting trend on six Assembly seats in Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban clearly established the fact that the voter in the area was completely polarised and the stoic silence adopted by Azad in the aftermath of the unfortunate incident lead to his debacle.
Azad who had garnered record number of votes from Bhaderwah assembly constituency failed to woo Hindu voters. In 2008 BJP had managed to secure little over 8000 votes but Dr Jitendra Singh polled over 21,000 votes in Bhaderwah.
The situation was no different in Kishtwar and Ramban districts where Dr Jitendra Singh gave tough fight to Azad in his strong hold and garnered sizeble votes. BJP polled 18726 votes in Kishtwar ,only 3758 votes less than Congress and in Ramban BJP polled 23164 votes, 2942 votes more than Congress candidate.
In the final tally Azad established a lead of 103103 votes from six assembly segments and the same was neutralised by voters in Kathua by giving massive support to BJP candidate. Azad failed to woo electorate in Kathua district and despite road shows and star campaigners he mustered only 71502 votes. Azad’s lead in Reasi district was neutralised by popular vote in support of BJP candidate in Udhampur district.
Azad garnered 100601 votes in Reasi while BJP secured 59639. Lead of 40971 was far less than BJP ‘s lead of 64799 in Udhampur district.
In the coming days if Azad wishes to stay put in the state politics he will surely have to refurbish his election strategy for the forthcoming Assembly polls due in the state by the year end.