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Abdullahs, Muftis in a fight to finish

Lok Sabha polls in J&K are steadily evolving into a battle royal of dynastic dimensions. Ruling PDP's father-daughter duo is ranged against NC's irrepressible father-son combine.
PTI | By Jay Raina, Srinagar
UPDATED ON APR 22, 2004 01:45 PM IST

The Lok Sabha elections here are steadily evolving into a battle royal of dynastic dimensions. The ruling PDP's father-daughter duo is ranged against the NC's irrepressible father-son combination.

With ballots already locked in voting machines in Baramulla, the focus now is on two seats in the Valley: Srinagar and Anantnag. While NC president Omar Abdullah is seeking re-election from Srinagar, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti is looking to win from Anantnag.

In this battle of dynastic one-upmanship, political ideology has taken a backseat, with both the NC and the PDP trying to upstage each other in projecting themselves as the authentic voice of pro-accession politics.

Sayeed has embarked on a rigorous campaign in Srinagar to defeat his arch rival's son. The wounds inflicted by the PDP on the NC in the 2002 assembly polls in the Valley — especially the shock Omar’s defeat in Ganderbal — are still fresh. Both the principal opponents are conscious of the fact that a repeat of Ganderbal could prove disastrous for the NC.

Farooq Abdullah and Omar are putting up a grand show. Their focus continues to be the hilly hinterland that may not fully go along with the poll-boycott call.

Judging by the prominence of cadres, Omar's NC appears to be on the comeback trail. Mehbooba's PDP is hamstrung by the absence of a well-oiled party machine — most of its hardcore supporters are scattered in Sayeed's hometown and its adjoining areas of Anantnag in south Kashmir.

In the final count, a reborn Farooq is set to provide a cutting edge to his arch rival Sayeed's Machiavellian manoeuvers in settling old scores.

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