Ex-separatist Sajjad Lone ascends, more separatists to follow suit?

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A year ago, he was the face of separatists on all national news channels, now, he is a minister in PDP-BJP government in Jammu and Kashmir, Sajjad Gani Lone has fought hard against all odds to get himself elevated to the present position.

Born on December 9, 1966, Sajjad Lone is the younger son of Hurriyat leader Abdul Gani Lone.

Sajjad Lone

He became the chairman of the People's Conference after his father, once an ally of Sheikh Abdullah, was assassinated in 2002 by militants in Eidgah ground of downtown Srinagar.

Sajjad has always expressed his strong views on Kashmiri issues and was a regular on TV debates, but has never won an election until 2014.

Sajjad Lone: From separatist to mainstream politician

Sajjad gave a miss to the 2014 Lok Sabha polls himself but was elected to the state assembly from Handwara assembly constituency in the elections defeating sitting minister Chaudhary Mohammad Ramzan of the National Conference.

He broke ranks with separatists nearly a decade ago in Jammu and Kashmir and come 2015, Sajjad is now wearing a hat of mainstream leader rubbing shoulders with great politicians.

Political analysts believe that the 47-year-old Cardiff educated Sajjad's story has given hope for more separatists to join mainstream politics and expect more will follow suit.

Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, after the swearing in echoed the same saying that Lone's elevation is expected to have some bearings on separatist politics, adding that he has "given an opening, an avenue for other separatists to follow".

Lone, who became a minister under the BJP's quota of power sharing in the state, was first approached by PM Narendra Modi ahead of the assembly elections. 

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