Srinagar, Apr 12: People's Conference chairman Sajjad Gani Lone has said that he would contest the imminent general elections from Jammu Kashmir.
"Fighting elections is a change of strategy, not ideology. I want to make it very clear that I have not changed my ideology. I still believe that a lasting solution is when you fulfil the aspiration of the people of Kashmir. It's a change of strategy, not that of ideology," Lone said.
Lone said his decision to enter the fray does not mark 'a victory of Indian democracy'.
"Lone is too small to deal a blow to separatism. Separatism has been here since 1947, and will be here unless and until the aspiration of people of Jammu and Kashmir will not be fulfilled. They are also calling it as a victory of Indian democracy. I am participating despite the impediments of having to take oath under the Indian Constitution which I will do with a very heavy heart because it is very difficult to take oath under the Constitution in which you don't believe," he said.
Lone, the first senior separatist to offer to contest an election since a revolt broke out in Kashmir in 1989, said he wanted to take his struggle to parliament in New Delhi.
Hardline separatist Syed Ali Shah Geelani has called for a boycott of the elections, but Lone said there was a need to change strategy after last year's state elections, which despite a boycott call saw a turnout of more than 60 per cent.