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Will jailed terror accused Engineer Rashid, who beat Omar Abdullah in Kashmir, be allowed to take oath as MP?
In image Engineer Rashid/ courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Will jailed terror accused Engineer Rashid, who beat Omar Abdullah in Kashmir, be allowed to take oath as MP?

| @indiablooms | 06 Jun 2024, 12:07 am

Sheikh Abdul Rashid, popularly known as ‘Engineer Rashid’, emerged as a controversial  player in the Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir,  after the jailed terror accused defeated former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah by a massive margin in the Baramulla seat.

The former MLA from the Awami Itihad Party, who is from Langate area in Kupwara district, is currently lodged in Tihar jail on terror charges.

Rashid won the Baramulla seat by a huge margin of 2,04,142 votes. He has been lodged in jail in connection with a terror-funding case, since August 2019 when the National Investigation Agency arrested him.

Hundreds of his supporters thronged his native village Lach Mawar in north Kashmir to congratulate his family, especially his sons who led his campaign.

What happens now?

With Rashid's election victory, he will now have a constitutional mandate as parliamentarian, despite being in prison.

Taking oath is the first step in fulfilling their role as parliamentarians. Although this is not explicitly spelt out in the Constitution, there have been past instances in which jailed lawmakers are granted temporary parole to take oath.

According to reports, Rashid moved a petition in Delhi court on Wednesday seeking interim bail to take his oath as an MP, his counsel advocate Vikhyat Oberoi confirmed.

“We have filed an application seeking interim bail or custody parole for swearing in and for other parliamentary functions,” Oberoi told Scroll.

However, being allowed to take oath is not the same as being released on bail. It is akin to a special parole for a day.

The jailed lawmaker has to then write to the Speaker that she will not be able to attend the proceedings. This is important since Article 101(4) of the Constitution states that if an MP is absent for over 60 days from all the meetings without permission, then her seat would be declared vacant.

Rashid has represented Langate in the erstwhile J&K assembly twice.

Omar Abdullah concedes defeat:

As Abdullah conceded defeat and congratulated Rashid, people were seen lining up in long queues towards the leader’s residence, while the latter's supporters burst crackers and raised slogans. “I think it is time to accept the inevitable."

"Congratulations to Engineer Rashid for his victory in north Kashmir. I don’t believe his victory will hasten his release from prison nor will the people of north Kashmir get the representation they have a right to but the voters have spoken and in a democracy that is all that matters,” he said in a post on X.

Nobody from his family has ever contested a Lok Sabha election from this seat as they have always fought from the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency.

The massive sympathy vote for Rashid was unprecedented and the widely public participative poll campaign carried out by his son worked in the jailed leader’s favour. The people have voted for him, completely overlooking the promises and the high-profile campaigns run by the Nationalist Congress Party and the People's Conference.

Rashid’s brother Sheikh Khurshid thanked the people of the constituency for voting in huge numbers for him.

“This is not our win, but people’s win. We are thankful to the people, especially youth and women who played an important role,” he said, adding that some people might think of voters as their inheritance, “but today, a common man has shown that a voter is not anyone’s inheritance and every caeing allowed to take oath is not the same as being released on bail. It is akin to a special parole for a day.

The jailed lawmaker has to then write to the Speaker that she will not be able to attend the proceedings. This is important since Article 101(4) of the Constitution states that if an MP is absent for over 60 days from all the meetings without permission, then her seat would be declared vacant.ndidate stands to win”.

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