After hitting out at the separatist camp a few weeks ago, moderate separatist leader Yasin Malik has now taken on the mainstream political leaders in Kashmir, starting a verbal duel.
On Monday, Malik dared Pradesh Congress Committee president Prof Saifuddin Soz and other mainstream politicians to fight against separatists in a constituency of their choice to prove who really represented Kashmiris.
"If these people think that pro-freedom leaders and parties have no representative character, let them all get together and choose a constituency in Kashmir and compete with us. Let this election process be conducted by the civil society in Kashmir with the sole purpose of proving who really represents Kashmiri people," Malik said in a statement.
Malik was reacting to the recent statement of Soz in which he had asked the separatists to prove their representative character in elections.
"If resistance camp is defeated in this election, I will quit politics. If at all Soz believes in his own statement, he should not shy away from this challenge," Malik said.
While other mainstream parties chose not to react Soz told the Hindustan Times that the separatist leaders statement was a welcome move.
"If he is ready to contest elections, I'll be happy to file my nominations against him," Soz added.
"It will prove everybody's worth," he added. Soz, who has already kick-started the election campaign in the Valley, claims the Congress will emerge as the single largest party in the coming election in 2014.
"Things have changed. We are hopeful of getting a good number of seats in the Valley," said Soz.