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NC’s Kashmir list of 47 is goodbye to PAGD. Here are key takeaways

JAMMU: In a major step towards its electoral preparation, the National Conference has today put up in-charge for each of 47 Assembly Constituencies across the Kashmir valley.

The list appears to be an early confirmation of party candidates for the Assembly elections, whenever the Centre and the Election Commission decide to hold. As of now there is no indication of any tentative schedule for elections.

An order issued by National Conference general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar said: “As approved by Honb’le President Jammu & Kashmir National Conference Jb. Dr. Farooq Abdullah Sahab, The following are nominated as “Constituency Incharges” for their respective constituencies. They shall have regular connect with the Public / Party Workers and Office bearers and ensure strengthening of the Party at grass root level.

All the respective Office bearers of these constituencies are expected to coordinate with their respective Incharges and extend full support to them.”

Here are the key takeaways from the list and it’s timing:

No Seat Sharing

Clearing the haze from the fate of People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), the NC has made it very evident that it will not share seats with the alliance partners in the upcoming polls. The PAGD was a pre-August 5 political alliance formed to deal with the post-August 5 situation, with National Conference and People’s Democratic Party as key partners and Farooq Abdullah as its president.

After an August 2022 resolution by its provincial committee members announced, in the presence of Omar Abdullah, that NC will contest all 90 Assembly on its own, Farooq had tried to downplay the development, saying that the PAGD doors will never be shut, and a decision on polls will be taken only when they will be announced.

With today’s list, it seems that a decision has indeed been taken and there will be no seat-sharing among the PAGD partners. The NC has not even conceded Kulgam to CPI(M) leader Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami, who is also the Convenor and Spokesperson of PAGD. Tarigami has represented the Kulgam Assembly Constituency in the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly from 1996 till now.

Abdullahs not in the Fray

The list doesn’t have any of the two Abdullahs. While Omar has been making assertions that he will not contest assembly polls, ever since his release from Hariniwas guest house turned into a sub-jail, the list has no mention of NC chief Farooq Abdullah.

No truck with Azad’s party?

The list also suggests that talks of alliance with Ghulam Nabi Azad’s party are not on the table. The Democratic Azad Party’s members have been claiming that their leadership has an understanding with the National Conference for seat sharing arrangement. Sources, however, say that NC may have alliance with DAP in the Jammu region

Businessman vs Businessman

The party has appointed Mushtaq Guroo, a noted businessman as the in-charge of Channapora constituency in Srinagar. Channapora is one of the two constituencies from where Apni Party President Syed Altaf Bukhari has announced to contest the assembly polls. Bukhari, who floated Apni Party as the first major political alternative to NC and PDP after the abrogation of J&K’s special status along with 31 former members of PDP and Congress, is primarily a businessman and is considered among the wealthiest people in Valley. By fielding Guroo, NC has essentially pitted a businessman against the other in the Channapora contest.

Sagars to contest from Srinagar

Senior NC leader and party general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar and his son Salman Ali Sagar, Youth National Conference’s provincial president for Kashmir, have been entrusted with two constituencies in Srinagar. The Senior Sagar, who served as the Minister of Rural Development in Omar Abdullah cabinet is likely to contest the assembly polls from Khanyar, while his son Salman will contest from Hazratbal constituency.

This will be the first appearance of Salman in the Assembly electoral process. Salman has served as the Mayor of Srinagar City in 2008. He had filed his nominations for the Srinagar-Budgam parliamentary seat in the run-up to 2009 general elections, but had to withdraw after NC chief Farooq Abdullah decided to enter the poll fray.

Jabbar Missing From Ganderbal

A surprising omission from the list is Ishfaq Jabbar, the last elected MLA from Ganderbal. Jabbar is the husband of Nuzhat Ishfaq, DDC chairperson Ganderal, elected on NC ticket and son of Sheikh Abdul Jabbar, a noted political figure, and one of the close associates of late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah.

Post August 5, Jabbar has been seen close with the establishment. Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha recently visited him to pay tributes on his father’s 32nd death anniversary. Jabbar had resigned from the post of NC’s district president for Ganderbal, a constituency from where Sheikh, Farooq and Omar, all have contested in the past, in November last year, but had maintained that he will continue to carry forward the mission of Sheikh Abdullah. In the following months, Jabbar was reportedly criticising the NC functioning and this is seen as one of the reasons for his omission from the list issued today.

Akhoon Loses Abdullahs’ Trust

Jabbar’s father-in-law Mohammad Syed Akhoon is also missing from the list. Akhoon was an elected MLA from Hazaratbal constituency from 1996-2008. Farooq Abdullah contested from Hazratbal in 2008, and after him winning the general election to Lok Sabha, NC fielded S. M. Kamal for assembly by-poll in 2009. In the 2014 elections, the constituency was given back to Akhoon, who lost to PDP’s Asiea Andrabi. Against the predictions, the NC has decided to bet on Salman Ali Sagar, instead of Akhoon.

Akhoon, who very proudly flaunts his association with Sheikh Abdullah in his twitter bio, is considered to be equally close to Farooq. When the Abdullahs were building their house in Jammu, Akhoon was entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing the construction.

The Complete List of Constituency Incharges  follows:

1- Karnah: Kafeel-Ur- Rehman

2- Trehgam: Saifullah Mir

3- Kupwara: Nasir Aslam Wani (Sogami)

4- Lolab: Qaiser Jamsheed Lone

5- Handwara: Choudhary Mohammad Ramzaan

6- Langate- Shafqat Watali

7- Sopore: Irshad Ahmad Kar

8- Rafiabad- Javed Ahmad Dar

9- Uri: Dr Sajjad Uri

10- Baramulla: Ghulam Hassan Rahi

11- Tangmarg: Farooq Ahmad Shah

12- Wagoora: Mohammad Yaqoob Wani

13- Pattan: Reyaz Ahmad Bedar

14- Sonawari: Hilal Akbar Lone

15-Bandipora: Nazir Ahmad Malik

16- Gurez (ST): Nazir Ahmad Khan (Gurezi)

17- Kangan (ST): Mian Altaf

18- Ganderbal: Ghulam Nabi Rather

19- Hazratbal: Salman Ali Sagar

20- Khanyar: Ali Mohammad Sagar

21- Habba Kadal: Shameema Firdous

22- Lal Chowk: Ahsan Pardesi

23- Channapora: Mushtaq Guroo

24- Zadibal: Tanvir Sadiq

25- Eidgah: Mubarak Gul

26- Batamaloo: Irfan Shah

27- Budgam: Aga Ruhullah

28- Beerwah: Dr Mohammad Shafi

29- Khan Sahib: Saifudin Bhat

30- Char-i-Sharief: Ab Rahim Rather

31- Chadoora: Ali Mohammad Dar

32- Pampore: Justice (Retd) Hasnain Masoodi

33- Tral: Dr Ghulam Nabi Bhat

34- Pulwama: Mohammad Khalil Bandh

35- Rajpora: Gh Mohiudin Mir

36- Zainpora: Showkat Ganaie

37- Shopian: Sheikh Mohammad Rafi

38- D.H. Pora: Sakina Itoo

39- Kulgam: Imran Nabi Dar

40- Devsar: Feroze Shah

41- Dooru: Tauqeer Ahmad

43- Anantnag West: Ab Majeed Bhat (Larmi)

44- Anantnag: Peer Mohammad Hussain

45- Bijbehara: Dr Bashir Veeri

46- Anantnag: East Riyaz Khan

47- Pahalgam: Altaf Ahmad Kaloo


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