In a setback ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, National Conference (NC) leader from Ganderbal district Mohammad Yousuf Bhat has quit the party and announced to contest the Lok Sabha polls against Union minister Farooq Abdullah as an independent candidate.
"I have quit the National Conference. People of my area urged me to contest the Parliament elections and I will follow their wish," Bhat, who was associated with the party since 1975, told PTI.
Bhat, a key witness to the custodial death of NC worker Haji Mohammad Yousuf in 2011, said the party's leadership was ignoring the old guard and promoting "outsiders" to important positions in the party.
"During the times of (NC founder) Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, decisions about party matters were taken after consulting all party workers. Farooq Abdullah also continued this practice for a fairly long time, but it has stopped since Omar Abdullah took charge," he said.
Bhat said Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah, who is also the working president of National Conference, was surrounded by "outsiders". "Those holding important posts have come from nowhere. But, those who have shed blood and sweat for the party have been ignored," he said in apparent reference to NC's provincial presidents Nasir Aslam Wani (Kashmir) and D S Rana (Jammu).