BJP,Cong field women candidates in Zadibal

Greater Kashmir

Srinagar, Nov 23: The two major political parties, BJP and Congress are banking on women candidates to open an account in the Kashmir’s separatist bastion. The two new entrants—Shameema Raina and Neelam Gash are fighting Assembly polls from Zadibal Assembly segment of old city on Congress and BJP tickets respectively in a bid to give some shivers to Hurriyat Conference (M).
While the two candidates are ideologically poles apart, both are, however, of the view that they are in the field to win in a bid to ensure not only development in old city but a revolution where people of city would feel a “change and difference”.
Shameema Raina, a Congress candidate from Zadibal Assembly segment asserts that she has a good support base in the area and would win. Raina, a social worker, has been associated with the women wing of the Congress for a long time and has been aiming high from the onset. “I had been demanding mandate since long but today my party high command felt that I should get it, and they announced it. My real strength are people and over the past six years, I have stayed in touch with them,” said Raina. She lives in old city and claims that she has always tried her best to help the needy, especially those living in Zadibal area of old city, the separatist bastion. Zadibal Assembly constituency is located close to the historic Jamia Masjid and is barely a few kilometers from the protest hub of down town, Nowhatta.
“I have never been attacked by the stone pelters, as my sole agenda had been development of the area,” she said. Raina has been focusing on the issues pertaining to artisans for a long time. “I am in touch with both Shia and Sunni Muslims in my constituency as both are same for me. The people of area are quite happy that Congress has chosen me to represent them. I am in the field to ensure a big change in old city,” she said. Raina said that her family, especially her husband has ensured her full support.
State Congress chief Prof Saifudin Soz said that Raina has been working hard in old city. “I am sure about her victory as she is a very hardworking woman,” Soz said.
BJP too has jumped in the poll fray and fielded a woman candidate in Zadibal. Neelam Gash, a Networking Engineer, who has done Masters in Computer Applications (MCA), is the party’s candidate. “I hail from Srinagar. I am really glad to be in the poll fray,” Gash told Greater Kashmir. She, however, evaded the query as to whether BJP approached her or she got in touch with any leader of the saffron party for mandate. “What I would say is that I am very happy to be in the field to do something for the people of Srinagar. The city has always witnessed family rule and development has always taken a back seat,” she said. “I being a fresher have a priority to ensure development of the city, especially in down town. I am a new face but people have started accepting me as my party is quite big. So my priorities for Srinagar are that the city should witness development and a revolution.”
Gash said people of Srinagar should feel the difference and be part of the change taking place at the national level. “I am the first person from my family to join the politics. So it is quite a good experience to serve the people. I am sure of my victory as people have started reposing great faith in me despite the fact I have less time to be with them,” she said. On how she feels to contest from place know for pro-freedom protests and stone pelting, Gash said though she has a pro-people and pro-development agenda, “such things hardly matters to her.” “My mission is clear, why to worry,” she said.
A Hurriyat (M) spokesman said that the political parties are roping in women to fight from old city areas in lieu of money. “Huge money is involved in the present elections and we believe, these women too must have been given a lot of money to contest. These tactics are not going to affect the Kashmir’s freedom struggle,” he said.