Fearing electoral reverses in Kargil in the assembly elections, the National Conference has succumbed to the influence of some religious outfits and dropped its sitting MLAs in Kargil and Zanskar constituencies of Ladakh region from its list of candidates. Anjuman-Sahib-Zaman, an influential religious outfit, has decided to support Independent Aga Syed Baqar in Zanskar. As a result, the NC did not field any candidate in Zanskar constituency.
NC has dropped chief minister Omar Abdullah’s advisor Qamar Ali Akhoon, a former cabinet minister, from Kargil and minister of state Feroz Ahmad from Zanskar.
The party has fielded Dr Kachoo Mohammad Hussain in Kargil and decided to support Independent Aga Syed Baqar in Zanskar.
Zanskar, one of the most remote constituencies of the state, has a mixed population comprising Muslims (around 13,000 voters) and Buddhists (around 8,000 voters). NC has traditionally relied on Muslim votebank.
Aga Syed Baqar, having a long association with Anjuman, was denied ticket by the Congress this time. He then decided to contest independently, with the backing of Anjuman. “Anjuman’s support is important. So we decided to support its candidate rather than losing the seat altogether,’ said a senior NC leader.
In Kargil, the Islamia school and Khomeni Trust have wide influence over the voters. Winning candidates in the past always had the support of at least one of these outfits. The Islamia School this time has decided to support PDP candidate Haji Inayat Ali.
A section of NC workers was also not happy with the party for giving away control of the Kargil Hill Development Council to the Congress. There was resentment in the Kargil residents and party workers against NC’s sitting MLA Akhooon over various local issues even as has an claen image.
The party, fearing further disenchantment of its voters, decided to drop Akhoon and fielded Kachoo Mohammad Hussain. Kachoo comes from an influential political family having a long time association with the Congress.