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Mufti ignores Congress, nominates candidates for by-poll in Kashmir

Written by: Staff

Baramulla, Apr 2 (UNI) Ignoring the Congress claim, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) nominated candidates for all the three assembly constituencies in north Kashmir, going to by-poll on April 24.

Former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who is also chief patron of the PDP, said Moulvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari and Mohammad Dilawar Mir will seek re-election from the Pattan and Rafiabad constituencies respectively.

Javid Ahmad Baig, nephew of Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig will be the PDP candidate from Sangrama constituency, he declared at a meeting at Baramulla today.

A number of Congress leaders have declared nominating candidates against the PDP candidates if efforts of seat sharing between the two coalition partners failed. Mr Ansari had won Pattan seat on Congress ticket and was minister in the Dr Farooq Abdullah government in 1996. However, he later joined the NC.

The Congress leaders asked PDP to surrender their claim on all these seats for Congress candidates.

Mr Sayeed avoided a direct answer when asked if Congress was also taken into confidence before selecting the candidates.

We are working as per the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) reached between the coalition partners in the state, Mr Sayed told reporters after launching election campaign from Degree college ground here this afternoon.

No Congress leader was present when the names of the candidates were announced by Mr Sayeed.

The by-polls in Rafiabad, Pattan and Bhaderwah have been necessitated following the resignation of the sitting legislators Mr Dilawar Mir, Moulvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari and Mr Mohammad Sharief Niaz respectively. The Assembly member from Sangrama, Dr Ghulam Nabi Lone, was killed by unidentified gunmen here on October 18 last year.

Both Mr Mir and Moulvi Ansari, a shia leader had won on the National Conference (NC) ticket, but later joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and subsequently resigned from the state Assembly.

Mr Niaz of the Congress vacated the seat for Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad while Dr Lone had won on a PDP ticket.

Mr Sayeed appealed to people to vote for the PDP candidate keeping in view the party's performance during the three year rule.

He said it was during the PDP people started feeling secure in their houses after the mid-night knocks were stopped.

It was possible after the government took the matter with the senior security force officers, he said.

Taking credit of the opening of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road for the first time after 1947 during the PDP rule, he said the day is not far away when Kashmiri fruit will be available in all Pakistani mandis.

The road will be thrown open for trade, he declared and said there has been a change in the Indo-Pak relations.

Mr Sayeed said now the leaders of mainstream parties are also participating in the conferences and seminars in Pakistan which was a good sign.

Regarding Kashmir Waqf Board, previously known as Muslim Auqaf Trust, Mr Sayeed said the income of the board was just Rs 5 crores to Rs 6 crores before the government took over its charge. Now the income of the board has increased to Rs 12 crores, he said.


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