Srinagar: A retired police officer and a prominent Kashmiri singer joined former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah’s National Conference (NC) on Monday.
Mushtaq Sadiq, a former deputy inspector general, is the second retired police officer to join NC since Riyaz Bedar did the same.
Waheed Jeelani, the singer, has been asked to handle the party’s cultural affairs. He is likely to contest assembly elections, which have to be held by May this year after the dissolution of the state assembly in November, along with Sadiq.
Jeelani, a household name, said he wants to give voice to people especially related to art and culture. “The central government and previous state government have betrayed people related to art and culture. Nobody listened to the demands and grievances of the people related to our community. This is the first time in the history of Jammu and Kashmir that some party has given representation to artists.”
Jeelani said he chose NC because it is “artist friendly and a moderate party”. “…. [NC chief and former chief minister] Farooq Abdullah is the biggest art lover.’’
He said he has no interest in becoming a legislator but he could contest elections, if asked. “It is yet to be decided whether I will contest elections or not.’’
Syed Towqeer, a principal and sessions judge, sought voluntary retirement last week citing personal reasons. Hindustan Times has learnt that he may contest the assembly elections from South Kashmir’s Kokernag and will join the NC too.