People's Democratic Party (PDP) and Congress candidates on Wednesday filed their nomination papers for the Bandipora constituency in north-east of Kashmir while their supporters exchanged blows outside the deputy commissioner's office.
A senior police officer told the Hindustan Times on the condition of anonymity that the police had to intervene to separate the two attacking groups of these political parties. The clash erupted when supporters of PDP's candidate Nizam-un-Din Bhat and supporters of Congress candidate Usman Majeed reached to file the nomination papers along with the leaders simultaneously outside Bandipora's deputy commissioner's office.
Bhat and Majeed are the main rivals in the constituency. Bandipora, which will go to the polls along with other 15 assembly constituencies in the first phase on November 25, will see a close contest between the PDP and the Congress.
"People will give absolute majority to our party and will vote for us like they did in recent parliamentary polls. Our party will work for peace with dignity and overall development of the state," said Bhat after filing the nomination. He was accompanied by PDP MLC and spokesman Naeem Akhtar.
Former separatist-turned-mainstream leader Majeed said, "If voted to power, I will continue to work for the development of the constituency. The current representative has utterly failed on all fronts. He said he will seek votes purely on development plank." Congress' Majeed was legislator of the constituency till 2002.
Meanwhile, Langate MLA Engineer Rashid's Awami Ittihaad Party (AIP), for the first time, fielded candidate for Bandipora constituency. Advocate Nazir Malik, accompanied by Rashid, too filled his nomination papers .
The valley's four key constituencies of Ganderbal, once bastion of Abdullahs, Kangan, represented by National Conference (NC) minister Mian Altaf, Sonawari, represented by NC minister Muhammad Akbar Lone and Gurez, represented by junior minister Nazir Gurezi will go to polls along with Bandipora, represented by PDP's Bhat. All these candidates will have to tide over anti-incumbency to win back their seats on November 25.