Minister’s ‘divorce’ may mar Omar’s re-election prospects

  • Peerzada Ashiq, Hindustan Times, Srinagar
  • Updated: Nov 19, 2014 00:18 IST

A divorce notice by a Shia cabinet minister and young National Conference (NC) leader Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi to his wife is likely to cast a shadow on chief minister Omar Abdullah poll prospects in central Kashmir’s Beerwah constituency.

The main reason behind Abdullah’s decision to switch from Ganderbal to Beerwah was the consolidation of Shia votes in Budgam district, which has significant Shia population, towards the NC. Omar is also contesting from Sonawar constituency.

There are three influential Shia groups here — Mustafis headed by Aga Syed Hassan, Moulvies of late Molvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari and Mehmoodies of Aga Syed Mehmood.

However, the decision of state minister to send divorce papers to his elder uncle Aga Syed Hassan’s daughter has split the Shia family and their vote bank.

Sources said in the wake of the family feud, the minister’s uncle Hassan has decided to ask his supporters to vote for the PDP, swaying a significant chunk away from Omar.

It remains to be seen who Hassan’s younger brother Aga Syed Abdullah will side with. He has more than 8,000 voters with him and will be a key kingmaker.

Though Omar’s party has been able to rope in former PDP Shia leader Agha Syed Mehmood, the late Shia leader Iftikhar Ansari’s two sons, contesting on PDP tickets, will vote for the PDP.

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