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J-K: Azad to contest from Anantnag-Rajouri LS seat

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NewsDrum Desk
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Srinagar, Apr 2 (PTI) Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Ghulam Nabi Azad will contest the Lok Sabha elections from Anantnag -Rajouri constituency, his party DPAP said.

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Azad left the Congress in 2022, ending his five-decade-long association with the party, and floated his own political outfit-Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP).

"Today the core committee of DPAP met and we have decided that (party president) Ghulam Nabi Azad will contest the Anantnag-Rajouri seat," DPAP leader Taj Mohiuddin told reporters here.

This will be the first Lok Sabha election for Azad after he lost from Udhampur constituency in 2014 to BJP leader Jitendra Singh.

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Azad was elected to Lok Sabha twice - in 1980 and 1984 - from the Washim constituency in Maharashtra. He was a member of Rajya Sabha from 1990 till 2006. He became J-K chief minister during the 2006-08 period. He was again elected to the Upper House in 2009 and was its member till February 2021.

Azad entering the fray has raised the profile of the newly carved out Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha constituency and a multi-cornered contest is expected.

The 75-year-old veteran politician will face Mian Altaf Ahmad of the National Conference, who holds considerable influence in the Gujjar and Pahari population on either side of the Pir Panjal Range in Jammu and Kashmir.

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The BJP and the PDP have not named their respective candidates yet, but are expected to do it in due course.

On the possibility of an alliance with the Apni Party of Altaf Bukhari, Mohiuddin said no progress has been made on that front.

"We are short of time and there was not much headway in talks. So it is better they do their bit and we do ours. They were not in any case interested in Anantnag seat," he added.

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Mohiuddin said candidates for other Lok Sabha Seats in Kashmir will be decided in due course.

The Anantnag constituency, which spreads across the Pir Panjal range to include Rajouri and Poonch areas after delimitation, will go to polls on May 7 in the third phase of Lok Sabha elections.

The notification will be issued on April 12 while April 19 will be the last date for filing nominations. The last date for withdrawal of candidature will be April 22. PTI MIJ RT RT RT

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