25 left in contest for Jammu, 10 in Baramulla
Sanjeev Pargal/ Fayaz Bukhari
JAMMU/SRINAGAR, Mar 26: PDP candidate Aga Mohsin and People’s Conference nominee Irfan Raza Ansari today joined the battle of ballot for Srinagar Lok Sabha seat where NC president Dr Farooq Abdullah is in the fray while two former Ministers Choudhary Lal Singh and Harshdev Singh filed nomination papers for Udhampur-Doda constituency.
Congress candidate from Udhampur, Vikramaditya Singh’s son, Martand Singh filed papers from Udhampur as covering candidate. Union Minister of State in PMO, Dr Jitendra Singh is seeking re-election as BJP candidate from Udhampur.
A total of 10 candidates filed nomination papers for Udhampur Parliamentary segment on last day of filing papers today, taking total number of contestants to 14 while in Jammu-Poonch seat, nomination papers of 12 candidates were rejected by the Returning Officer, Ramesh Kumar during scrutiny, reducing number of those left in fray from 37 to 25. BJP candidate, Jugal Kishore Sharma, sitting MP, and Congress candidate, Raman Bhalla are among those in fray for Jammu constituency.
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In Baramulla Lok Sabha seat, Returning Officer, Dr GN Itoo rejected nominations of four candidates bringing down number of nominees from 14 to 10.
A total of 10 nomination papers were filed for Srinagar seat today, taking total number of candidates to 13.
People’s Conference candidate, Irfan Ansari was accompanied by party chairman Sajjad Gani Lone, PC general secretary Imran Ansari, PC senior leader Abid Ansari and Junaid Azim Mattoo among others while filing nomination papers for Srinagar seat.
Irfan while responding to questions posed by reporters after filing his nomination papers said that he would take on the challenges confronting the generation of today.
“I represent the younger generation and I believe I am more in touch with the problems and realities faced by today’s generation and would be able to not only understand them well but also try and find a way out to resolve those problems”, he said
On the occasion, PC chairman Sajjad Gani Lone said that Irfan Ansari is a breath of fresh air and would usher in an era and a political landscape blotted with changelessness, he is a ray of hope.
“I am confident that Irfan would be victorious and it would usher in a new era of youthfulness, of innocence, of a desire to change, a desire to contribute and also an element of idealism. We desperately need young and dynamic individual like Irfan Ansari who would rise above the self in order to deliver for the people of the State”, he added.
While responding to questions asked by reporters about the controversial remark of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ by Mohammad Akbar Lone, Sajjad said that ‘it isn’t a crime to raise slogans in favour of any country.’
“We as a political party have absolutely no objection to him raising any slogan. However, when it comes to the National Conference, what they have in heart is quite opposite to what they say in public gatherings. I wish they loved any country or any State. The reality is that they are a barren and loveless party who apart from loving their own selves have no love for any country, any State or any people”, he added.
PDP leader and former Minister Naeem Akhter, who among others accompanied party candidate Aga Mohsin in filing papers for Srinagar seat, said the PDP has advantage over other parties as it’s candidate has clean reputation and brings freshness, which is very rare in current Srinagar contest.
Former Minister, BJP rebel and newly floated Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan (DSS) chairman, Choudhary Lal Singh today joined the electoral fray from Udhampur-Doda Parliamentary constituency also. Yesterday, Singh had filed his nomination papers for Jammu-Poonch constituency along with his wife Kanta Andotra.
Lal Singh had represented Udhampur-Doda seat in Lok Sabha twice in 2004 and 2009 as Congress candidate. He was twice elected as MLA from Basohli constituency in Kathua district in 1996 and 2002. Kanta was elected MLA from Basohli seat in 2004 by-election.
Lal quit the Congress after being denied mandate from Udhampur Parliamentary seat in 2014 for third term when veteran Congress leader, Ghulam Nabi Azad contested the seat and lost. Singh joined the BJP in 2014, won Basohli Assembly seat and was made Cabinet Minister in the PDP-BJP coalition Government before being removed along with Chander Prakash Ganga for their support to Rassana rape-cum-murder case alleged accused.
National Panthers Party leader, Harshdev Singh, who had represented Ramnagar Assembly constituency in Udhampur district for three consecutive terms in 1996, 2002 and 2008 before losing to BJP in 2014, also filed his nomination papers for Udhampur-Doda Parliamentary seat. This is for the first time that Harshdev, who had served as Education Minister in Mufti Sayeed-led PDP-Congress coalition Government from 2002 to 2005, is contesting the Lok Sabha election.
BJP sitting MP from Udhampur constituency and Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Dr Jitendra Singh and his Congress rival Vikramaditya Singh have already joined the fray from Udhampur seat. Vikramaditya has the support of National Conference and People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which haven’t fielded their candidates on Udhampur constituency.
Martand Singh, son of Vikramaditya Singh today filed nomination papers for Udhampur seat as a covering candidate.
Besides, BSP candidate Tilak Raj Bhagat, retired Chief Engineer is also in the fray on Udhampur Parliamentary constituency.
Dr Jitendra Singh had wrested Udhampur-Doda seat from the Congress in 2014 by defeating Congress stalwart and former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was also backed by the National Conference. The BJP had won the seat in 1996, 1998 and 1999 Parliamentary polls with Prof Chaman Lal Gupta making hattrick and going on to become the Union Minister. However, Congress had wrested the seat from BJP in 2004 and again won it in 2009.
Vikramaditya’s father and former Sadar-e-Riyasat of the State, Dr Karan Singh had held Udhampur-Doda Lok Sabha seat four times.
Scrutiny of nomination papers for Udhampur-Doda and Srinagar-Budgam Lok Sabha seats will take place tomorrow. The two seats will go to polls in second phase on April 18.
Others, who filed their nominations today for Udhampur-Doda seat included Garib Singh, Bansi Lal, Meenakshi, Prem Nath, Rakesh Mudgal, Shabeer Ahmed and Firdous Ahmed, all Independent candidates.
Meanwhile, nomination forms of 12 candidates, all Independents, were rejected during scrutiny on Jammu-Poonch Lok Sabha seat today, Returning Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner Jammu, Ramesh Kumar told the Excelsior.
Kumar said 25 candidates were now left in the fray. The candidates can withdraw their nominations till 3 pm on March 28, he added.
The contestants whose papers were rejected on Jammu-Poonch seat included Naresh Kumar Talla of JP Janta Dal National Party, Talib Hussain of Rashtriya Lok Dal, Vicky Kumar Dogra of Janta Dal United, Tej Ram Dogra, Javed Iqbal Rishi, Mansoor Ahmed Khan, Kabir Hussain, Surjeet Singh, Suresh Kumar, Jasvir Singh, Labha Ram and Mohammad Rahoof, all Independents.
The candidates left in the fray now include Syed Aqib Hussain of Independent Peoples’ Party, Jugal Kishore of BJP, Badrinath of BSP, Mohammad Younis of JK Peer Panjal Awami Party, Susheel Kumar of Hindustan Nirman Dal, Javaid Ahmed of All India Forward Bloc, Raman Bhalla of INC, Gursagar Singh of Navarang Congress Party, Prof. Bhim Singh of JK National Panthers Party, Kanta Andotra of Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan, Lal Singh of Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan and Rajiv Chunni, Subhash Chander, Shazbad Shabnam, Perseen Singh, Gulam Mustafa Chowdhary, Satish Poonchi, Bahadur, Manish Sahni, Sikander Ahmad Nourani, Tarsem Lal Khullar, Balwan Singh, Syed Zeshan Haider, Anil Singh and Ajay Kumar, all Independents.