Srinagar: Former Kashmiri separatist Sajjad Lone today won his first election ever, over a decade after he broke ranks with his movement and joined poll politics.
Mr Lone, 47, won from the Handwara constituency in north Kashmir.
"This was a challenge for me. I've replied to all my critics...We will all work together, work for development. We don't want people to be afraid of (elected lawmakers)," he said.
Sajjad Lone is married to a Pakistani, Asma Khan Lone, the daughter of key separatist leader Amanullah Khan, who founded the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front and lives in Rawalpindi in Pakistan.
Before the polls, Mr Lone revived the People's Conference founded by his father Abdul Gani Lone, who was killed during an election rally in Srinagar in 2002.
Mr Lone first experimented with democracy by fielding proxy candidates in the 2002 assembly polls, going against separatist leaders who have always urged people to boycott polls.
He contested as an independent candidate from Baramulla in the 2009 Lok Sabha election but lost.
He is among the few prominent Kashmiri politicians to have openly engaged with the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Last month, after meeting PM Modi in Delhi, he described him as his "older brother."
"The PM is a great human being. I was pleasantly surprised with his down-to-earth personality, his vision about bringing in investments into the state," Mr Lone said, adding, "I could not make out whether I am talking to the PM or my older brother."
Sajjad Lone's older brother Bilal is an executive member in the moderate faction of separatist Hurriyat Conference.