Separatist leader Sajjad Lone contesting polls in Kashmir

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Baramulla (J-K), May 11 (ANI): Having plunged headlong into an electoral campaign as the first separatist in Kashmir to contest the polls since a revolt broke out in Kashmir in 1989, People's Conference chairman Sajjad Gani Lone says he has changed his strategy, not his ideology.

Lone has defended his move of entering the electoral process by maintaining that he is still committed to the Kashmiri cause. He is contesting the ongoing general elections from Baramulla constituency in Jammu and Kashmir.

"I am not fighting for the government, I am claiming for leadership, I will take up the issue of my people and Kashmir in the parliament and voice the opinion of the people, and this is my promise," said Lone.

Lone had walked out of Kashmir's main separatist alliance, All Parties Hurriyat Conference, after his father, senior separatist leader Abdul Gani Lone was assassinated in 2002 by the militants.

He is married to Asma Khan, the daughter of Pakistan based Amanuallah Khan, who is the founder of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front.

His move has given separatist leaders, especially Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference to castigate him by branding him a traitor to the Kashmiri cause.

However, such allegations do not worry Lone and he is busy holding road shows in his constituency to woo voters across Baramulla.

"Who is a traitor and who is not is something that no one can just get up and say, I have also made sacrifices, I lost my father, my party workers have also been martyred," said Lone.

The entry of Sajjad Lone in the electoral fray has given nightmares to Shareif-u-Din Shariq who is contesting from the ruling National Conference and Mohammad Dilawar, who is the candidate of regional People's Democratic Party (PDP).

The Baramulla constituency will go to polls on May 13. (ANI)

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