Eyes on Lone as Valley gears up for 2nd phase

  • PTI, Srinagar
  • Updated: Dec 01, 2014 02:04 IST

The second phase of polling in Kashmir on December 2 will witness several high profile candidates including separatist-turned-mainstream politician Sajjad Lone and the only woman minister in the present government Sakina Itoo trying their luck at the hustings.

While political observers are keenly watching the polling pattern in all the nine constituencies in the Valley, the Handwara constituency in north Kashmir's Kupwara district will draw special attention as People's Conference leader Lone is contesting his maiden assembly election from the seat.

Lone, whose father Abdul Gani was a three-time MLA before joining the separatist ranks when militancy erupted, broke off from the ranks in 2009 and contested the Lok Sabha polls that year but came a distant third.

The senior Lone had represented Handwara constituency thrice from 1967 to 1983. He also won in the 1983 Assembly elections but from Karnah seat of the district. The junior Lone will be banking on immense goodwill his father enjoyed in Handwara.

In a surprise move, Lone met Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this month saying the BJP leader came across as an "elder brother". What did not come as a surprise was BJP not fielding a candidate from Handwara.

Lone will be up against National Conference candidate Chaudhary Mohammad Ramzan, who is seeking a fifth term.

There are three sitting MLAs, including CPI(M) face in Jammu and Kashmir Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, seeking a fourth consecutive term during Tuesday's polling.

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