Omar Abdullah: Baramulla Ticket a Move Against BJP’s Proxies

Omar Abdullah: Baramulla Ticket a Move Against BJP's Proxies

Undeclared emergency

  • Omar says there is an undeclared emergency in the country and it is in more danger than during the Emergency of 1975. The only difference is that Indira Gandhi declared it, he adds.
  • On Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s barb on dynastic politics, Omar says the BJP has given party ticket to the families of its leaders.

Keenly watched contest

  • In 2019, NC’s Mohd Akbar Lone got 1,33,426 votes, defeating Raja Aijaz Ali (1,03,193 votes) of the People’s Conference. Independent Sheikh Abdul Rashid (1,02,168 votes) and PDP’s Abdul Wani (53,530 votes) were third and fourth in north Kashmir.
  • This time, People’s Conference has fielded its chief Sajad Gani Lone while the PDP Fayaz Mir.

The National Conference (NC) today announced that former CM and party’s vice-president Omar Abdullah would contest the upcoming Lok Sabha election from the north Kashmir constituency of Baramulla. NC’s senior Shia leader Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi will represent the party in the Srinagar constituency. Farooq Abdullah was also present during the announcement.

Omar said the NC was not fighting against individual candidates but against the forces behind them. He said that in all three seats of Kashmir, the NC had been battling the Central government and the BJP’s proxy candidates. “In north Kashmir, the Central government has deployed all its resources. I want these forces to be confronted in north Kashmir. That is why the party has decided to field me from there,” he said.

In north Kashmir, the People’s Conference has fielded Sajad Lone as its candidate while the Apni Party and the BJP have not fielded any candidate.

“If the PM’s claim on abrogation of Article 370 is justifiable, the BJP should have fielded its own candidates,” he said. He also said that if the BJP fields candidates in the Valley, they will lose bail bonds. BJP doesn’t exist anywhere in Kashmir, he said. He challenged the BJP to contest in Kashmir, saying he would quit politics if the national party’s candidates do not lose their security deposits.

Omar would be banking heavily on Shia support as the constituency has many Shia dominated areas that include Budgam, Beerwah, Pattan, Sonawari and Bandipora, among other pockets.

Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency was redrawn in the delimitation exercise to include two Assembly seats of Budgam district — Budgam and Beerwah — both Shia dominated, and one each new Assembly segment in Baramulla and Kupwara.

Before delimitation, the constituency has been a forte of the NC as the party has wrested the seat ten times since 1957. The Congress has won four times and the PDP once.

In the last general elections in 2019, NC candidate Mohammad Akbar Lone secured 1,33,426 votes, defeating his nearest rival Raja Aijaz Ali of the People’s Conference who polled 1,03,193 votes. Independent candidate Sheikh Abdul Rashid, who polled 1,02,168 votes to grab the third spot, has been under NIA custody on terror-funding charges. His Awami Ittehad Party (AIP) has announced it will field Rashid, who is currently in detention in New Delhi’s Tihar Jail, from the seat for the Lok Sabha polls.

The PDP, which stood at a distant fourth place in the last elections, has fielded former Rajya Sabha MP Fayaz Mir.

Now, the NC has confirmed its candidates for all three Kashmiri seats. Previously, Mian Altaf was declared candidate for the Rajouri-Anantnag constituency. The party also continues to support the INDIA bloc candidates of the Congress in Udhampur, Jammu and Ladakh.

Srinagar goes to polls on May 13 while voting in Baramulla will be held on May 20.

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