M A I N   N E W S

Omar to contest from Srinagar, Farooq opts out
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, March 23
The National Conference here today announced its list of five candidates in Jammu and Kashmir for the Lok Sabha elections. Party president Omar Abdullah, would be contesting from the Srinagar constituency for the third consecutive term, while his father and NC patron Farooq Abdullah has opted out.

Other candidates include a sitting MP and three former ministers in the state. Sitting MP Abdul Rashid Shaheen would be seeking re-election from the North Kashmir constituency of Baramula. Dr Mehboob Beigh, provincial president of the National Conference and sitting MLA, would contest from the Anantnag constituency of South Kashmir.

Two former ministers would be contesting from the Jammu and Udhampur constituencies of Jammu region. They include Surjeet Singh Salathia from Jammu constituency, while Khalid Najeeb Suhrawardy, who is also a sitting MLA, would contest from Udhampur constituency.

Announcing the list of five candidates, for all three seats in Kashmir valley and two in Jammu region, the National Conference president said nomination of the remaining candidate for Ladakh seat would be made after consultations. He said the decision would be taken after visit of party members to Kargil and Leh districts shortly. Ladakh constituency goes to the polls in the last phase on May 10.

Five out of the six constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir were represented by the NC in the last Lok Sabha. “My aim is to represent people in some capacity”, Omar Abdullah said in reply to a question.

Omar Abdullah said grant of internal autonomy, Article 370 and the Permanent Residents (Disqualification) Bill 2004, would be the main issues around which the party campaign would revolve. He said the party would highlight the achievements of its six-year rule in the state as compared to the 17 months of coalition government adding “let election be held on basic issues”. Omar held that coalition government had “emerged out of compulsions” and were at loggerheads with each other in view of the forthcoming elections.

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