Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti has won the Anantnag constituency bypoll with a margin of 12,000 votes.
After the 10 rounds of counting, Mufti secured 16,897 votes against the 5,529 votes of her nearest rival, Congress candidate Hilal Ahmad Shah.
National Conference candidate Iftikhar Misger was a distant third, polling 2,702 votes, district election officials said.
Counting was briefly suspended for about 15 minutes after Shah alleged that the electronic voting machines (EVMs) have been tampered with. Shah alleged that some EVMs did not have the mandatory seal.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Mufti calling her victory “phenomenal”.
“Congratulations to J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti for the phenomenal victory in the Anantnag assembly by-election,” he tweeted.
This will be Mufti’s fourth term in the assembly. She was among eight candidates in the bypoll, which was necessitated by the death of incumbent MLA and former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7 this year.
Mufti was first elected to the assembly in 1996 on a Congress ticket from the Bijbehara constituency. She won in 2002 from Pahalgam and again in 2008 from the Wachi seat in Shopian district.
(with inputs from PTI)