Dynastic politics thrives in the Valley | india | Hindustan Times
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Dynastic politics thrives in the Valley

It is not only the high voter turnout in the first two phases of the assembly election in J&K that reflects the state’s integration into the Indian mainstream. Dynastic politics has taken firm roots here too, reports Arun Joshi.

india Updated: Nov 27, 2008 00:22 IST
Arun Joshi

It is not only the high voter turnout in the first two phases of the assembly election in Jammu and Kashmir that reflects the state’s integration into the Indian mainstream. Dynastic politics, another characteristic feature of Indian political life, has taken firm roots here too.

It is not only the father-son duo of Farooq and Omar Abdullah — the former chief minister-designate if National Conference (NC) wins the election, and the latter the NC’s president — who are in the fray. Farooq is contesting from Hazratbal, while Omar contested from Ganderbal on November 23.

The Abdullah family’s participation does not end there. Farooq’s brother Sheikh Mustafa Kamal is contesting the Gulmarg seat. But he is at least an NC candidate — the other two relatives are with the Awami National Conference (ANC), an NC rival. Indeed one of Farooq’s opponents at Hazratbal is his sister Khaleda, the ANC candidate. His nephew and Khaleda’s son, Muzzafar Shah, is also fighting the Amira Kadal seat on an ANC ticket. “Khaleda is like any other rival,” Farooq told HT.

Former People’s Democratic Party chief minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed and his daughter Mehbooba Mufti are contesting from Anantnag and Wachi respectively. So too is Mufti’s brother Sartaj Medhi from Devsar.

The state’s last maharaja Hari Singh’s grandson is fighting the Nagrota seat on an NC ticket. Lal Singh, the Congress MP from Udhampur, is contesting from Kathua, while his wife Kanta Andotra is the Congress candidate from neighbouring Basholi.

Former Congress CM Ghulam Nabi Azad’s cousin Mohammed Sharief Azad is a member of the legislative council and may not contest this time. But he has won the Bhaderwah seat twice, the last time in 2002.