LS POLLS|Farooq to contest from Srinagar

Farooq Abdullah 'congratulates' NIA, asks it to probe if India also funded Hurriyat leaders

National Conference president Farooq Abdullah will contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from the Srinagar constituency.

“I’m contesting from Srinagar. It has been decided,” Abdullah, the sitting MP from the central Kashmir constituency, told Greater Kashmir.

In April 2017, the NC leader had won the by-polls to the parliamentary constituency comprising Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal districts by defeating PDP’s Nazir Ahmad Khan.

The election to the constituency was necessitated after the former PDP leader Tariq Hamid Karra resigned from the Lok Sabha in protest against the “atrocities inflicted upon people during the 2016 uprising” triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.

The three-time chief minister of J&K and a former union minister, the 81-year-old Abdullah was earlier also elected to the lower house in 1980 and 2009.

Senior party leader Muhammad Akbar Lone will be the party’s candidate for the Baramulla parliamentary constituency, Abdullah said.

“His (Lone) name has also been cleared,” he said.

Greater Kashmir had on February 7 reported that Lone’s name has been finalised for the northern Kashmir seat. One of the senior party leaders, Lone has won the past three assembly elections from Sonwari constituency in Bandipora.

Besides, former Jammu and Kashmir chief secretary BR Kundal will be the party’s candidate for Jammu-Poonch constituency, Abdullah said.

Kundal joined the party last month at a function in Jammu, in presence of Abdullah and other party leaders.

Abdullah said the party’s parliamentary board is meeting in coming days to finalise the names for the remaining constituencies—Anantnag, Ladakh and Udhampur.

“It will be done in coming two to three days,” the NC president said.

For the southern Anantnag constituency, a source said, the party has shortlisted two names including Peer Muhammad Hussain.

A former minister, Hussain was expelled by the PDP in December last year for alleged anti-party activities, before he joined the National Conference.

On Sunday, the election commission of India (ECI) announced the schedule for Lok Sabha polls, which will be conducted in five phases in Jammu and Kashmir from April 11 to May 6.

The restive Anantnag constituency, which is spread over four districts including Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian, will go to the polls in three-phases.