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Former separatist leader Sajad votes

india Updated: May 13, 2009 15:45 IST

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Chairman of breakaway faction of Peoples Conference Sajad Ghani Lone, who broke ranks with the separatist Hurriyat Conference to fight polls, on Wednesday exercised his democratic right at a polling station in Handwara.

"I am confident of my victory. The people will vote for me so that I can represent them in the parliament," Lone, who parted ways with the separatist camp to fight the elections from Baramulla Parliamentary constituency, told reporters after casting his vote in the early hours.

Handwara, 85 kms from Srinagar, is part of of North Kashmir constituency where Lone is pitted against 12 other contestants, the formidable among whom is ruling National Conference candidate Sharifuddin Shariq and opposition PDP's Mohammad Dilawar Mir.

This is only the second time that Lone has cast his vote. Earlier, he had voted in the 1987 assembly elections when his father Abdul Ghani lone was contesting the polls.

Defending his decision to contest the elections, he said personally he did not see any wrong in fighting the elections.

He said his fighting election is a change of strategy and not of ideology.

"My decision to join the poll fray is aimed at exploring fresh options (for resolution of Kashmir issue) as the previous strategies have become redundant and have failed to bring desired results," he said.