Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday announced that she will contest from Anantnag seat in Jammu and Kashmir for the Lok Sabha elections, PTI reported. Mufti had won the seat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, but quit in 2016 to return to state politics.
Jammu and Kashmir has six Lok Sabha seats. Mufti announced that Aga Mohsin will be the party’s candidate for Srinagar seat and former employees’ union leader Abdul Qayoom Wani will contest from Baramulla. The party is yet to decide on a candidate for the Ladakh seat.
Mufti said the party has decided not to field candidates in two Lok Sabha seats in the Jammu region – Jammu and Udhampur – to “ensure votes are not divided”, reported The Hindu.
“There was one opinion that we should contest but our workers and others including civil society members and social groups appealed that our decision to contest can divide secular vote and hand over the advantage to those forces who want to destroy Jammu and Kashmir,” Mufti said, according to Greater Kashmir.
The party’s decision to not contest the Jammu seats comes a few days after the National Conference decided not to field candidates for the two seats, in a seat sharing arrangement with the Congress. “This mahagathbandhan [Grand Alliance] is happening but not with the pace it should have been,” Mufti said. “But we will try at our level to ensure the secular vote doesn’t get divided [in Jammu].”
On the decision to ban separatist Yasin Malik’s Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, Mufti said the separatist group was made “a scapegoat for electoral gains”. “In a democracy, there should be battle of ideas and such kind of things should not happen,” she said. “Every voice should be fought politically rather than suppression and oppression.”