65-year-old Azad, who is currently a Rajya Sabha member, has been a Lok Sabha MP before but from outside J and K.
He was first elected to Lok Sabha in 1980 from Washim in Maharashtra and again from the same constituency in 1984. Azad, who has served as J and K Chief Minister from April 2006 to 2008, will be contesting Lok Sabha elections from the state for the first time despite being involved in the affairs of the state.
Born in Soti village in Bhadarwah area Doda district, Azad will have a challenge from BJP's Dr Nirmal Singh who was defeated in last elections by Congress' Lal Singh by a margin of 13,000 votes.
Bhim Singh, who has been contesting every elections from this seat, filed his nomination papers today much to the displeasure of BJP which was hoping that the votes did not split.
Heading Panthers Party, Singh had polled 69,463 votes in 2009 elections. Azad, a nominee of National Conference-Congress alliance, is believed to enjoy good support especially in Reasi, Udhampur, Basholi and Billawar assembly segements where Congress had not done well in the last Lok Sabha .
Comprising 17 assembly seats with nearly 14 lakh electorate, the Udhampur-Doda Parliamentary seat has been traditionally with Congress since 1967 barring in 1996, 1998 and 1999 when BJP's Chaman Lal Gupta won it.
Azad is expected to bank on the work done in remote areas of this region especially in Doda and Kishtawar areas. Being Rajya Sabha member since 1991, Azad has utilised MPLAD funds on developmental activities in this region.