Saturday, August 31, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Omar to contest from fatherís constituency
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, August 30
The ruling National Conference, which released its list of candidates for the second phase of elections here today, has dropped the Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, from the contestants list in the ensuing Assembly elections. His son and the Minister of State for External Affairs, Mr Omar Abdullah, has been nominated for Ganderbal constituency represented by Dr Farooq Abdullah.

The list of 27 nominees for the 28 Assembly constituencies in three districts of Srinagar, Budgam and Jammu, which will be going to the polls on September 24, sets at rest various speculations following the election of Mr Omar Abdullah as the new president of the National Conference. Of the eight ministers in the 28 constituencies, seven have been retained, while Mr Aga Syed Mehmood from the Beerwa constituency in Budgam district has been dropped. No candidate has so far been cleared for Budgam constituency. Dr Farooq Abdullah, who was elected from Ganderbal constituency thrice between 1984 and 1996, has formally said adieu to active politics.

A party spokesman said the high-power central election board comprising Qaid-i-Sani Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Ghulam Mohiuddin Shah, Abdul Rahim Rather and Mohammad Shafi, all ministers, party general secretary Sheikh Nazir Ahmad and two provincial presidents G. N. Shaheen (Kashmir) and Bodh Raj Bali (Jammu) cleared the persons for the second phase of Assembly elections.

The much-awaited list was released a day after the notification for the second phase of elections was issued here yesterday.

Of the 10 Assembly segments in Srinagar district, all represented by the ruling National Conference in the last elections, three ministers have been retained. They include Mr Ghulam Mohiuddin Shah, Batamaloo, Mr Ali Mohammad Sagar, Khanyar, and Mian Altaf Ahmad, Kangan. Mr Mubarak Gul, Chief Whip of the NC, has also been retained.

Those dropped include Mr G.M. Bawan from Sonawar, who has been replaced by Mohammad Yasin Shah, political adviser to the Chief Minister.

Mohammad Shafi Bhat representing Amirakadal constituency has also been replaced by Mr Ghulam Nabi Mir, Lasjan. Those retained include Mohammad Sayed Akhoon, Hazratbal, and Sadiq Ali, Zadibal. Mrs Shamima Firdous, MLC, has been nominated for Habbakadal constituency that fell vacant following the death of Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pyare Lal Handoo last year.

Of the five constituencies in Budgam district the Finance Minister, Mr Abdul Rahim Rather, representing the Chrar-e-Sharief constituency has been retained. Another minister Aga Syed Mehmood representing the Beerwah constituency has been dropped, while two others representing Khan Sahib and Chadoora have been retained.

Three ministers of the 13 constituencies from Jammu district have been retained. They include Mr S.S. Salathia, Vijaypur, Mr Ajat Shatru Singh, Nagrota, and Mr Ajay Sadhotra, Marh. Former minister Govind Ram Sharma from Akhnoor has also been retained. The NC has only these four members in the Legislative Assembly from Jammu district.

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