“Not shocking…”: Omar Abdullah on Ghulam Nabi Azad not contesting the Lok Sabha Elections

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Anantnag (Jammu and Kashmir): National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah on Thursday said that Ghulam Nabi Azad not contesting the Lok Sabha Elections was not “shocking” to him adding that he was already aware of it.
The Democratic Progressive Azad Party announced that former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and DPAP chairman Ghulam Nabi Azad will not contest the Lok Sabha elections from the Anantnag-Rajouri seat.

“It is not shocking; we already knew that he would not contest elections. I think he has fielded a candidate from his party but let us see if people will support his party,” Omar Abdullah told reporters on Thursday.

National Conference Candidate Mian Altaf Ahmad filed his nomination from Anantnag-Rajouri. “Today, the NC candidate for the Anantnag-Rajouri seat, Mian Altaf Ahmad, has filed his nomination. He will represent all parties of the INDIA bloc. We hope that Mian Altaf will win this election. On behalf of Farooq Abdullah, I would like to thank Mian Altaf for coming here all the way from Delhi,” he said.

Advocate Saleem Parray will be a candidate from the Azad’s Democratic Progressive Azad Party for the Anantnag Rajouri seat. DPAP leader, Advocate Mohammad Saleem Paray, confirmed the development and said the people of Jammu and Kashmir want to see Azad as the Chief Minister.

“Ghulam Nabi Azad had a meeting with the leaders of south Kashmir. Deliberations were held on a lot of things. Finally, my name was proposed and I am thankful to Ghulam Nabi Azad that he trusted me. I will try my level best to meet all the expectations. Replacement is not a proper word. He is being a good leader. There is no replacement. I wanted Ghulam Nabi Azad to contest from here but as a political worker, I am connected to people. People of the state want Ghulam Nabi Azad to take charge of Jammu and Kashmir, they want to see him as the Chief Minister,” he added.

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti will fight from Anantnag-Rajouri and the National Conference has fielded Mian Altaf for the Lok Sabha polls. Earlier in 2022, Azad had left the Congress, ending his five-decade-long association with the party, and floated the DPAP.

In the 2014 elections, Jitendra Singh from the BJP gathered 46.8 per cent of votes on the Udhampur seat, while Ghulam Nabi Azad, who fought on the Congress ticket, gathered 40.9 per cent. Voting in Udhampur will be held on April 19, in Jammu on April 26, in Anantnag-Rajouri on May 7, in Srinagar on May 13, and in Baramulla on May 20.
Earlier, there were six seats for J-K, including Ladakh. But, following the abrogation of Article 370 by the Parliament, Ladakh does not have a Lok Sabha constituency. In the 2019 elections, the BJP won three seats, while the National Conference won the other three seats.

This is the first election after the Supreme Court ruling last year, which upheld the Parliament’s decision to abrogate Article 370 and bifurcate the state into two union territories. The apex court also asked the Election Commission of India to hold the next assembly elections in J&K before September 30, 2024.

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