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Will raise people's issues, ensure tourism potential is fully tapped: DPAP's Srinagar candidate

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Srinagar, May 11 (PTI) Amir Ahmad Bhat, the Democratic Progressive Azad Party candidate in the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat, wants to tap the tourism potential of Jammu and Kashmir for the benefit of the people and accuses his rivals of peddling "misleading narratives" over Article 370 issue.

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His prominent challengers in the seat are Aga Syed Ruhulla Mehdi, fielded by the National Conference to retain the traditional bastion of the party, PDP’s Waheed-ur-Rehman Para and Apni Party’s Mohd Ashraf Mir.

They are among 24 contestants trying their luck from the constituency which has over 17.44 lakh voters and will go to polls in the fourth phase on May 13.

On the last day of campaigning, Bhat was accompanied by his party's chairman Ghulam Nabi Azad on a road show from near his residence that is expected to cover a vast area till Ganderbal, passing through Nishat, Shalimar, Harwan, Fakir Gujri, Khimber and Chatterhama. "Once elected to Parliament, I will follow the footsteps of Azad and raise people's issues without any fear. Since I am associated with tourism, I know the potential of this sector and will try my best to ensure that its potential is fully tapped to benefit the public," said Bhat who has been a travel agent.

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Exuding confidence over winning the seat, he asserted that people remember with pride Azad's tenure as Jammu and Kashmir's chief minister (2005-08). "His courageous speech in Parliament against abrogation of Article 370 is still fresh in the minds of the people," the DPAP leader told PTI.

Azad has a crystal clear vision for Jammu and Kashmir grappling with unemployment, under-development and the worst-ever electricity crisis, he asserted.

"DPAP is promise-bound for its efforts in the restoration of statehood and providing good governance under the leadership of Azad. We are not making any false promises to the people like the NC and PDP who should first inform people about their failure in making Article 370 provisions permanent in the past seven decades.

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"When it is gone and the Supreme Court has put its stamp on the government decision, they are once again building up misleading narratives. I am sure they will be rejected,” Bhat, a founding member of DPAP, said.

Amidst sloganeering during the roadshow, Azad, who founded DPAP in 2022 after ending his over four-decade-long association with Congress, emphasized electing candidates who prioritize public issues and endorsed Bhat as someone who would echo the people's concerns in Parliament.

He said, "When I was a college student, I heard slogans like 'Azadi' and 'Khud Mukhtari' as a result of which we lost one lakh people and some 50,000 of our daughters and sisters lost their husbands. The third generation of those who ruled are raising these slogans once again and we have to remain cautious and reject them." In his affidavit submitted along with his nomination paper, Bhat has put the value of his movable property at over Rs 50.79 lakh and a liability in the form of a car loan at Rs 12,43,607. His wife's assets stand at Rs 4.4 lakh, which includes gold jewellery. PTI SKL NSD NSD

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