LS polls: Akbar Lone set to be NC candidate for Baramulla seat

Senior National Conference leader and former minister Muhammad Akbar Lone is all set to be the party’s candidate for the Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency, a source said on Wednesday.
LS polls: Akbar Lone set to be NC candidate for Baramulla seat
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Senior National Conference leader and former minister Muhammad Akbar Lone is all set to be the party's candidate for the Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency, a source said on Wednesday.

The party has finalised Lone's name and a formal announcement is likely to be made in coming few days, the source said.

In this regard, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah Wednesday held a meeting with party leaders who are in-charge of assembly constituencies in northern Kashmir, to finalise name of the candidate for the seat.

Party's vice president, Omar Abdullah, also attended the meeting.

"There were at least four candidates in the fray including two former ministers. But he (Lone) is the frontrunner," said a senior party leader.

The leader, who was part of the meeting, said the names were discussed keeping in view their "popularity and winnability".

"Akbar Lone has the edge," he said.

Lone is one of the senior leaders in National Conference and has won the past three assembly elections from Sonwari constituency in Bandipora.

In 2009, he was elected as speaker of the state assembly and held the position for almost four years. He was also minister for higher education in the National Conference-Congress government.

NC's general secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar confirmed to Greater Kashmir about today's meeting.

"Some names were discussed but a formal announcement about the candidate will be made soon," he said.

Spread over three districts including Baramulla, Bandipora and Kupwara, the northern Kashmir consists of 15 assembly constituencies. 

This LS seat is presently represented by Peoples Democratic Party's Muzaffar Hussain Baig in the Parliament.

None of the parties including PDP and Peoples Conference has so far declared a candidate for the northern Kashmir constituency.

In the last assembly election, Lone defeated PDP candidate Yasir Reshi, now a rebel, by a narrow margin of 406 votes from Sonawari, once an Ikhwan bastion. That time, Lone was pitted against Reshi and Congress' Imtiyaz Parray.

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