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NC leader Mian Altaf Ahmad files nomination from Anantnag-Rajouri LS seat

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Anantnag (JK): National Conference leader Mian Altaf Ahmad on Thursday filed nomination papers for the Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha seat as the candidate of the opposition INDIA bloc.

Accompanied by NC vice president Omar Abdullah and Congress General Secretary Ghulam Ahmad Mir, Ahmad filed the nomination papers before Deputy Commissioner Anantnag, Syed Fakhruddin, who is the returning officer of the constituency.

Talking to reporters after filing nomination papers, Abdullah said he was hopeful that Ahmad, the influential Gujjar leader from Kangan in central Kashmir, will emerge victorious.

“On behalf of the INDIA bloc, National Conference candidate Mian Altaf Ahmad has submitted his nomination papers to the DC (returning officer). We are hopeful that Mian sahib will emerge victorious. On behalf of NC president Farooq Abdullah, we are very thankful to G A Mir who came here from Delhi especially for this,” the NC vice president said.

Reacting to Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement on destruction caused by gun culture in Jammu and Kashmir, Abdullah said the National Conference has been the worst victim of violence.

“We know very well where the gun culture came from. No party has been a bigger victim of this gun culture than the National Conference. We have lost more than 4,000 senior workers, party office bearers and former legislators,” he added.

On former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad withdrawing from the contest in Anantnag Lok Sabha seat, Abdullah said he knew about it beforehand.

“We knew that he would not contest. He did not contest from his Doda seat, why would he contest from Anantnag. Now his party has fielded a new candidate. How much support they have among the people you will come to know in near future,” he said.

On the BJP not fielding any candidates on the three seats in the valley, Abdullah said, “There are still 24 hours left. Who knows they might just do it!”

Senior Congress leader Mir said he was confident of a sweep for INDIA bloc candidates in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Jammu and Kashmir will not be divided into several parties. It is a direct contest between INDIA bloc and NDA. There is no scope for third, four or fifth parties this time. The people of Jammu and Kashmir are mature enough politically,” Mir told reporters.

Mir expressed confidence that Congress candidates will win both the Lok Sabha seats in Jammu region.

“We can see both the Jammu seats going to Congress because people of Jammu are much angrier with BJP than we had anticipated in Kashmir. They (BJP) have done nothing on the ground. Their central ministers, who were representing the constituency, have not shown their face to the people in the past five years,” he said.

He also said that PDP president Mehbooba Mufti contesting the polls was not a setback for the INDIA bloc.

“It is not a setback. It was understood from the outset that the constituent parties of INDIA bloc will field candidates from seats which they had won respectively in 2019 polls. We know that valley seats were won by NC last time. Common sense says NC will have influence in these seats.

“Efforts were made to accommodate others but it was to be decided between NC and PDP. If this seat had been with Congress, we might have been willing to sacrifice it to accommodate the PDP like we did in many other states. The two parties could not agree on this…therefore, Mian Altaf will be the candidate from the INDIA alliance,” he added.

Mir charged that the BJP has tried to use some religious issue or the other in every election so that it does not have to answer for its governance.

“This is the first election in India in which BJP has not succeeded in diversionary tactics to deviate from the real issues facing the nation. This might be their last ditch effort to give a (saffron) colour but Bharat has decided that 2024 polls will not see a BJP or Modi government. June 4 has been decided as the expiry date of all guarantees that they are giving. People will vote for the guarantees of INDIA bloc and Rahul Gandhi,” he said. (PTI)

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