Omar opts out of bastion

Omar opts out of bastion

Fearing anti-incumbency and dwindling political graph of the National Conference (NC) in Ganderbal Assembly seat, Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Friday decided not to seek re-election from his family bastion. 

Omar has decided to contest from two constituencies, Sonwar in Srinagar district and Beerwah in Budgam district, to make sure that he does not lose the polls. The decision was taken at a meeting of the NC parliamentary board, which issued the fourth list of 22 candidates for the Assembly elections.

“The parliamentary board, under the chairmanship of the working president Omar Abdullah, cleared a list of 22 candidates, 15 candidates for Kashmir region and seven candidates for Jammu region,” a NC spokesman said.

Ganderbal has been the bastion of the Abdullahs since 1975 as Omar’s grandfather and NC founder Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah represented the constituency. His son Farooq Abdullah won the elections from Ganderbal in 1983, 1987 and 1996. Omar, however, lost from Ganderbal in the 2002 Assembly elections to Qazi Muhammad Afzal of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). 

Qazi could not retain the seat in 2008 when Omar avenged his defeat by securing 16,519 votes against the PDP’s 8,304 votes. Sources told Deccan Herald that Omar decided not to risk contesting from Ganderbal as he was told that party foundations have been badly damaged in the area.

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