Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Mehbooba Mufti, Congress and NC candidates file papers for Anantnag seat
Former chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti, state Congress president Ghulam Ahmad Mir and National Conference’s Husnain Masoodi were among 10 candidates who filed nomination papers from the high profile Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday.
“Filed my nomination from Anantnag constituency for #LokSabha2019. Was overcome with emotion since this is the first election I will contest without my fathers guidance & support. But am confident that my people will restore their faith in PDP. It’s an honour to fight for them,” Mehbooba tweeted.
Other candidates who filed their papers are Zaffar Ali of Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference, Mirza Sajad Hussain Beigh of Janata Dal (United), Sanjay Kumar Dhar of Manav Adhikar Party and independents Shamas Khwaja, Imtiyaz Ahmad Rather, Gh Mohammad Wani and Riyaz Ahmad Bhat.
BJP candidate for the south Kashmir seat Sofi Mohammad Yousuf has already filed his nomination papers.Two independent candidates have also filed their nominations since the election commission of India (EC) issued notification for the third phase of polls on March 28.
Mir, who was accompanied by senior party leaders, filed his nomination papers at the deputy commissioner’s office in Anantnag and later held a rally at nearby Khanabal, which was also attended by leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad.
After filing his nomination papers, Mir said the people of south Kashmir knew him very well as he had been active in the politics for the past 35 years. “The people of south Kashmir have been electing parliament members from either the NC or the PDP. But they have never fulfilled the aspirations of the voters. The people of south Kashmir have realised it and the Congress is the front runner this time. Our party will become the voice of youth, farmers, injured and old people of south Kashmir in parliament,” he said.
Mir said the NC candidate was new and people did not know him. “The people of Anantnag have elected Mehbooba Mufti to the assembly and the Lok Sabha. They know what role she played after becoming the J&K chief minister. This time, the people will not by hoodwinked by shedding of tears by the former chief minister,” Mir added.
A senior politician, Mir enjoys good support base in some parts of south Kashmir and could make contest difficult for Mehbooba.
Another former chief minister and NC vice-president Omar Abdullah accompanied Masoodi when he filed his nomination papers. Masoodi also enjoys support in many pockets of south Kashmir.
The NC and the Congress have sealed an alliance for three Lok Sabha seats in the state and decided to go for friendly contests on three other seats, including Anantnag. The state sends six MPs to the Lok Sabha.
South Kashmir was earlier considered to be a PDP bastion. In 2014, the party bagged the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat and later won assembly elections in 11 constituencies. However, after the party formed a coalition government with the BJP, it faced a lot of resentment.
The polling for Anantnag Lok Sabha seat will be held in three phases — April 23 (for Anantnag district), April 29 (for Kulgam district) and May 6 (for Pulwama and Shopian districts) — due to security concerns.