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Mehbooba, Omar's entry heats up J&K poll scenario

March 30, 2004 19:24 IST

The election scene in the Kashmir valley is likely to hot up in the coming days with the ruling Peoples Democratic Party fielding its president Mehbooba Mufti from Anantnag and National Conference president Omar Abdullah seeking re-election from the prestigious Srinagar seat.

Mehbooba is Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's daughter while Omar is the son of Sayeed's predecessor Farooq Abdullah.

Mehbooba's chief rival is expected to be the NC's Dr Mehboob Beg while Omar's will be PDP MLC Ghulam Nabi Lone. Omar had easily won the Srinagar seat in the 1998 and 1999 elections.

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The Bharatiya Janata Party has nominated Shafiq Sadiq, grandson of former chief minister G M Sadiq from Srinagar, but the main fight will be between the NC and the PDP.

In a bid to wrest the Baramulla seat from the NC, the PDP has fielded Nizamuddin Bhat against sitting MP Abdul Rashid Shaheen. However, the Congress has refused to concede the seat to its ally claiming to have done better in the constituency in the 2002 assembly poll and has fielded senior leader Ghulam Rasool Kar.

The BJP has fielded Mohammad Akbar Khan while the Panther's Party, another ally of the PDP, has fielded Syed Mohammad Rafiq Shah.

Former chief minister G M Shah's Awami National Conference has said that the elections are an exercise in futility. The party has told the Election Commission that it would boycott the elections.

The full EC would visit Jammu and Kashmir for three days from Thursday to review the poll arrangements. Elections to the six parliamentary constituencies would be held in four phases.

Chief Election Commissioner T S Krishna Murthy and the other two Election Commissioners B B Tandon and N Gopalaswami would hold a series of meetings with the Chief Secretary and other top civil and police officials.

After interacting with leaders of political parties in summer capital Srinagar and winter capital Jammu, they will address press conference at both places, EC sources said.

Elections to Baramulla and Jammu constituencies would be held on April 20, Srinagar on April 26, Anantnag on May 5 and Ladakh and Udhampur on May 10.

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