Nov 22, 2008

India - Titans enter electoral battle in J&K

Shujaat Bukhari

SRINAGAR: The ongoing Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir is witnessing high profile contests and the former Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, and his daughter Mehbooba Mufti are the latest to join the fray.

Though he was initially reluctant to contest the elections, Mr. Sayeed is now all set to be the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) nominee from Anantnag constituency in South Kashmir. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Friday confirmed that he would contest the elections.

“There is a lot of pressure from people for him to contest keeping in view his good work as Chief Minister from 2002 to 2005,” she told journalists here.

Mr. Sayeed faces NC’s Mehboob Baig who won the seat in 2002.

Ms. Mehbooba will herself contest from Wachi constituency in Pulwama district. She has shifted to this seat for lack of a suitable candidate, party sources said. She had first won the election from her home constituency Bijbehara in 1996 as Congress candidate. She later resigned and founded the PDP. She shifted to Pahalgam in 2002 and vacated the seat for her father.

As for the NC, both Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah are contesting the elections.

While Mr. Omar Abdullah is trying his luck from Ganderbal for the second time, Dr. Farooq Abdullah is contesting from Hazratbal. He had quit poll politics in 2002 and handed over the baton to his son, both as Chief Ministerial candidate and party president. Another former Chief Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad, will contest the elections from Bhaderwah constituency. He won the elections from the same constituency in 2006 after taking over as Chief Minister in 2005.

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