INDIA VOTES 2024: Cracks in INDIA bloc as Mian Altaf named NC candidate for Anantnag : The Tribune India

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INDIA VOTES 2024: Cracks in INDIA bloc as Mian Altaf named NC candidate for Anantnag

INDIA VOTES 2024: Cracks in INDIA bloc as Mian Altaf named NC candidate for Anantnag

Former minister Mian Altaf



Arjun Sharma

Jammu, April 1

In a big jolt to the INDIA bloc in J&K, the National Conference (NC) announced its first candidate, Mian Altaf Ahmad, from the Anantnag constituency, a seat that was sought by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) under the Opposition’s alliance.

The announcement came a day after PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti and NC president Farooq Abdullah were seen sharing the stage in New Delhi during a rally by opposition parties. Farooq had also appreciated Mufti during his speech.

Interestingly, the PDP has also started preparing its ground force to start campaigning from the constituency, even though it is not clear whether Mufti will herself contest from the seat or not.

In a video message, Omar Abdullah said that party veteran Mian Altaf’s name was announced after consultation with Farooq Abdullah.

“With the permission of NC president Farooq Abdullah, I announce the name of the first candidate for Lok Sabha elections. Anantnag-Rajouri-Poonch Lok Sabha constituency will be represented by Mian Altaf. He is the best candidate for the constituency, as people know him and he has a good track record,” Omar said.

He said Mian Altaf has never divided people in the name of caste or religion. “I urge the people of the constituency to give votes to Mian Altaf when the constituency goes to the polls on May 7,” he said.

The BJP is also leaving no stone unturned to woo the members of the Gujjar and Pahari communities from the constituency, which have a significant population in Rajouri and Poonch districts. Parts of both districts were added to the Anantnag LS constituency by the Delimitation Commission in 2022.

Mian Altaf, a five-time legislator, is a prominent religious and political Gujjar leader whose grandfather and father have also been in J&K politics. The leader holds a following even among the voters from the Pahari community.

Interestingly, while the PDP was keen on contesting the seat, sources in the party say that it is most likely that a candidate will be announced for the constituency in the coming days. PDP leaders from Pulwama and Shopian districts in the Anantnag LS constituency convened a meeting to strategise door-to-door campaign. Leaders of the PDP, including Bari Andrabi, Mohammad Yousf Bhat, Youth President Waheed Para, among others, are preparing a strategy for the LS seat.

Congress was urging the NC to leave the Anantnag seat vacant for the PDP as the party was trying to provide representation to all the INDIA bloc partners.

PDP too planning to field its nominee

The announcement of Mian Altaf Ahmad by NC vice-president Omar Abdullah has not gone down well with the PDP as the latter had started poll campaign preparations from Udhampur. As per sources, the PDP is likely to announce its candidate for the constituency in the coming days

#Anantnag #INDIA bloc #Jammu


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