Former Jammu and Kashmir CM Ghulam Nabi Azad drops out of Anantnag poll race - Hindustan Times
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Former Jammu and Kashmir CM Ghulam Nabi Azad drops out of Anantnag poll race

ByMir Ehsan, Srinagar
Apr 18, 2024 02:43 AM IST

Ghulam Nabi Azad on Wednesday chaired a meeting of officer bearers from south Kashmir at Khanbal, Anantnag, where consensus was reached over Parray’s name.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) president Ghulam Nabi Azad will not contest the Lok Sabha polls from the Anantnag-Rajouri seat. The party has instead named advocate Saleem Parray as the candidate from the seat.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad (File photo)
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad (File photo)

Earlier, the party had named Azad as its candidate from Anantnag-Rajouri.

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Azad on Wednesday chaired a meeting of officer bearers from south Kashmir at Khanbal, Anantnag, where consensus was reached over Parray’s name.

“It was decided that instead of Ghulam Nabi Azad, I will be contesting the elections from Anantnag. The decision was taken after consultations with all leaders from south Kashmir,” Parray, the nephew of former legislator Amin Bhat, said.

Read Here: Congress fires 4 questions at Ghulam Nabi Azad for 'want BJP to win' claim

The 40-year-old had taken a plunge into politics four years ago and is a member District Development Council member from Anantnag

Last month, DPAP treasurer Taj Mohi-ud-Din had announced Azad’s candidature in Srinagar after the core committee of the party gave approval on the party head’s name.

After resigning from Congress in 2022, Azad formed his own party. Year on, he has been holding rallies across Jammu and Kashmir to bolster public support with particular focus on south Kashmir. The former CM has managed to rope in several former Congress legislators who hold sway in their respective areas in Anantnag, Poonch and Rajouri.

Read Here: Omar Abdullah challenges Ghulam Nabi Azad to contest LS polls against him

Azad backing out from polls, however, could affect the confidence of party leaders and hit the newly formed party’s prospects. Mehbooba Mufti’s entry into the fray from Anantnag and Congress supporting NC candidate Mian Altaf, a prominent Gujjar leader, is likely to have forced a rethink.

“The previous decision to field Azad was taken in haste without proper homework. It’s going to hurt us,” a senior DPAP leader close to Azad, said.

After Azad lost Lok Sabha polls from Udhampur in 2014, he was hoping to wrest the seat which is spread on the assembly segments of south Kashmir, Poonch and Rajouri and has a sizeable population of Gujjars and Paharis.

The Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha seat will go to the polls on May 7 in the third phase of voting.

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