Parties Announce Names of Candidates

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SRINAGAR – With announcement of names of candidates by various political players for elections to the four vacant seats of state Legislative Council under Panchayat quota, renewed political activity is visible across political spectrum in the state.

Various political parties and panchayat organizations have already announced names of candidates for contesting the elections, making the polls a multilateral battle.

According to sources, the state Congress has decided to field the party’s senior vice president Gulam Nabi Monga for the one seat being fought by the party in Kashmir. “Sham Lal Baghat, a sarpanch from Asar in Kathua has been given the party ticket to contest elections from the other seat in Jammu division”, the sources said.

Meanwhile, J&K Pradesh Congress Committee President Saifuddin Soz, who reached Srinagar on Thursday, confirmed to KNS the candidature of Monga and Baghat for contesting the LC polls on behalf of Congress party. Pertinently, Soz had earlier gone to Delhi to consult the party High Command for finalizing the names of candidates.

Opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDPD), according to sources has finalized the names of Saifuddin Bhat and Peer Muhammad Hussain for candidature on behalf of the party. However, an official announcement in this behalf is expected to be made after the PDP President Mehbooba Mufti arrives in Srinagar, who is currently on a visit to Delhi.

The National Conference, according to sources, is mulling over the names of Ali Muhammd Dar, Showkat Ahmad Ganie and Qaiser Jamshed Lone for the Kashmir seat whileas, Rattan Lal Gupta or Shahnaz Ali are the front runners for contesting the Jammu seat. “A meeting in on at the residence of Dr Farooq Abdullah in Srinagar is on to finalize names for LC elections. The meeting is also being attended by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah apart from other senior leaders”, the sources told KNS late Thursday evening.

When contacted, Minister for Panchayati Raj and Rural Development, Ali Muhammd Sagar said the party will announce the names of the candidates by Friday morning.

Independent MLA from frontier district Kupwara’s Langate Consitutency, Engineer Rashid also announced names of candidates backed by him for contesting the elections. Those fielded by Rashid are Shabir Ahmad Rather and Nazir Ahmad War, who are themselves Sarpanchs.

In the meantime, the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party has announced names of candidates to contest from all the four seats vacant in the Legislative council, two each from Jammu and Srinagar.

NPP sources told KNS that the names of Mohammad Maqbool Malik and Dr Iqbal have been finalized for seats reserved for Kashmir division whileas Anita Thakur and Rafiq Chandel will contest from Jammu region.

Pertinently, polls for electing Legislative Council members to vacant seats under Panchayat quota are due to be held on December, 3. The last date of filing nominations is Nov 17, and the last date for withdrawal of the candidature is Nov 19.

The Electoral College comprising elected panches and sarpanches has a total of 33,540 members with two votes each. Jammu region has 15,628 members, while as and Kashmir division has 17,912 panchayat members, eligible for casting their votes.

Two seats each have been reserved for Jammu and Kashmir divisions and no candidate from Kashmir can contest seats reserved for Jammu and vice versa.

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