Srinagar, Nov 9: The Awami National Conference Sunday announced that G M Shah would be its chief ministerial candidate and hinted that Shah's wife, Begum Khalida, might contest elections from either Sonwar or Hazratbal. Khalida, the daughter of Sheikh Abdullah, will be pitted against her brother, Dr Farooq, if she contests from Hazratbal.
"J&K hasn't produced an able chief minister like GM Shah and without any doubt, he is our candidate (for CM's post)," ANC leader and Shah's son, Muzzafar Shah, told reporters after the release of his party's manifesto.
The ANC released the list of 26 candidates for the upcoming elections. Interestingly, Khalida's name is missing from the list. Asked whether Khalida Shah is going to contest elections, Muzzafar said, "Our second list is yet to be finalized. We are persuading Khalida Ji for the elections and definitely she is going to lead our campaign. If health permits, GM Shah Sahib would also be our star campaigner." ANC has hinted that Khalida may contest from Hazratbal or Sonwar.
Muzzafar also disclosed about the bitter relations between his and Farooq Abdullah's family. Asked has he met NC president Omar Abdullah recently, he said, "The fact is that when my father was operated upon recently, Omar and Dr Farooq even didn't had the courtesy to call on him. Although both of them are welcome to our house anytime, but the fact is that for the last some years they have never visited us."
Coming down heavily on Election Commission and the governor administration in the state for 'enforcing elections' on the people, the ANC leader said, "There is sense of insecurity among people. I want to convey it to EC that there is curfew-like situation in Kashmir and people are being killed everywhere. If the situation continues like this election will become a joke."
"Elections aren't substitute for K-resolution. We have joined poll process only for providing good governance without bloodshed. We were opposing to elections at this juncture, but it was thrust on us," he added.
Announcing that his party would try to find a permanent solution of Kashmir issue within five years after coming to power, Muzzaffar said, "We will work for the final settlement of the issue through tripartite talks."
He accused Ghulam Hassan Mir's newly formed Democratic Party (Nationalist) of misusing ANC's election symbol – candle. "One of the candidates of JKDP(N) from Ganderbal constituency has used our symbol. We have filed a complaint against him with EC and demand his disqualification from the polls," he demanded.
Muzzaffar accused that taxpayers' money was being spent lavishly on the security and accommodation of the politicians and bureaucrats. "The taxes which you and me pay are being wasted. I'm one of the highest tax payers of the state. Recently I urged prime minister Manmohan Singh to cut the security expenditure so that we can pay stipend to the five lakh unemployed youth of the state."
On the occasion, several NC activists joined ANC.