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PDP names candidates for 3 Valley seats

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Mehbooba Mufti to contest Anantnag-Rajouri seat; appeals NC, Congress workers to support her


Srinagar: As expected, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) today named its candidates for contesting all the three Lok Sabha constituencies of Kashmir Valley.

In a crowded press conference held here, the party’s Parliamentary Board chief, Sartaj Madni said that the party’s president, Mehbooba Mufti will contest from Anantnag-Rajouri seat, youth leader, Waheed Parra from Srinagar and former Rajya Sabha member, Mir Fayaz Ahmad from Baramulla constituency.

The press conference was addressed by Mufti and Madni. They said the PDP will support the Congress on two Jammu region seats of Udhampur and Jammu.

Asked if the Congress will reciprocate in Kashmir, the PDP president said she was not extending support to the national party on quid pro quo basis. “We have decided to support the Congress for the larger fight to save the Constitution and democracy.”

“But I would appeal to not only Congress workers but NC workers also to support me so that we can take the voice of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to Parliament,” she said.

“My appeal to all people of the constituency — from Anantnag to Rajouri and Poonch — is to come together as we are passing through a critical stage. People cannot talk. If someone raises voice, he is labelled as anti-national,” she added.

On her party contesting against INDIA bloc partner National Conference, Mufti said she had left the ball in NC president Farooq Abdullah’s court.

“We had left the decision to Farooq Abdullah. We would not mind even if they had contested all the seats but they should have at least consulted us. They should not have demeaned our party and workers by saying they will see our behaviour in Lok Sabha polls before deciding on alliance for Assembly elections,” she said.

In response to a question, the PDP president said her party’s manifesto will take the genuine voices of people to Delhi. She alleged that the Centre was using all its might against her in the south Kashmir constituency.

“Delhi is pushing all might into the south Kashmir constituency. They have directly put up some candidates and some others indirectly. I have been a fighter all along and I decided to take on the challenge,” she said.

Asked about BJP leader Tarun Chugh meeting People’s Conference president Sajad Gani Lone and Apni party founder Altaf Bukhari on Saturday, Mufti in a cryptic response said “you have not counted Azad Sahib”.

“Democracy is a battle of ideas and people decide. I don’t have any personal issues with them,” she said.

About the Congress party’s manifesto, the former chief minister said this was the best manifesto in the past 70 years. “It does not talk about 2 crore jobs but 30 lakh jobs only.  It does not have jumlas but achievable goals.”

Asked if she will campaign for the INDIA bloc outside Jammu and Kashmir, the PDP president said she cannot do it. “We could not strengthen the alliance here in Jammu and Kashmir which is in such a terrible situation. What will I say to people in other places?” she said.

Mufti has contested Lok sabha elections three times earlier and won twice — in 2004 and 2014. Her only electoral defeat came at the hands of National Conference leader Omar Abdullah in the 1999 general elections.

In Anantnag-Rajouri constituency she would be pitched against DPAP president Ghulam Nabi Azad and National Conference Gujjar leader Mian Altaf Ahmad. BJP is yet to announce its candidate for the segment while as Apni Party has named former MLC and Pahari leader Zaffar Iqbal Manhas.


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