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Azad hints at not contesting Lok Sabha polls, says will campaign for DPAP leaders

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Jammu:  Senior political leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Saturday indicated that he would not be contesting in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections as he would be campaigning for the candidates of his newly formed Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP).

Azad, who has refrained from contesting Lok Sabha elections after his defeat in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, asked his party men to gear up as 2024 would be the election year for Jammu and Kashmir.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a function in Nagrota, Azad, who resigned from Congress after decades of association, also appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to resolve the issues of agitating farmers “once for all” as the protest is neither good for the government nor the farmers.

“Parliament election is 100 percent taking place on its time and I can only guess about the assembly polls (in J&K) as I have no contact with the Election Commission or government. But it (assembly elections) has to take place as the Supreme Court has set a deadline of September.

Asked whether he would be contesting himself in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, Azad said “I have to campaign for my party (candidates) and if I contest, I will be held up at one place.”

After breaking away from the Congress in August 2022, Azad formed his own party in the Jammu region. Political analysts claim that Azad, who has a vote bank in the south of Pir Panjal areas like Doda, Kishtwar, Bhaderwah and Poonch, will be able to divide the votes of opposition party candidates.

Azad termed the National Conference as an opportunistic party, which can align with anyone provided they come to power.

On the ongoing farmers’ agitation, he said this is for the second time that the protests are happening at a grand scale.

“I appeal to the prime minister to resolve their issues once for all. It is not good for the government and the farmers as well as the people who will face trouble moving around,” he said.

Earlier, addressing the rally in Nagrota, Azad appealed to the people of Kashmir, including Pandits, to not sell their land in the valley.

“The situation is improving and we should not be panicked by occasional incidents (of terror attacks). Such attacks should not happen but this is a reality that shootings are taking place everywhere, including the most secure places like the USA. But nobody flees their homes out of fear,” he said, requesting people to live together and prepare for the coming elections.

He said no assembly election has taken place in Jammu and Kashmir for the past 10 years which saw many “good and bad” things.

“Leaving the past, we have to look forward to the future and see what can be done to improve the conditions of the people of all sections of the society,” he said.

 

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