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Sajjad Lone to contest LS polls from Baramulla segment

The announcement was made by the party’s General Secretary, Imran Reza Ansari, who said, 'Based on my discussion with the party leaders, we have decided to field our party President Sajad Gani Lone as candidate for the Baramulla Parliamentary seat.'
Last Updated 26 February 2024, 12:04 IST

Srinagar: With Lok Sabha election dates nearing, Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Conference on Monday declared its President, Sajjad Gani Lone, as the party’s candidate for Baramulla Parliament segment.

The announcement was made by the party’s General Secretary, Imran Reza Ansari. “Based on my discussion with the party leaders, we have decided to field our party President Sajjad Gani Lone as candidate for the Baramulla Parliamentary seat,” he said.

Ansari said that the party leadership wishes him the best and believes that the fiercest speeches on the floor of the Parliament, “advocating the just cause of our people will finally be delivered by Sajad Lone after a painful wait of seven decades”.

“The people of J&K will finally get the chance to roar,” he concluded.

Lone is the younger son of PC founder and separatist leader Abdul Gani Lone, who was assassinated by militants in 2002 in Srinagar. His father's killing was a turning point for Lone and though he continued in Hurriyat Conference, he was accused by hardline separatist leader late Syed Ali Geelani of fielding proxy candidates in the 2002 Assembly polls.

This led to a vertical split in the separatist amalgam. The huge turnout in the 2008 Assembly polls, despite boycott calls by separatists, brought a change of mind in junior Lone, who called on the separatists to review their strategy for being heard in Delhi.

In April 2009, he contested as an independent candidate for Baramulla LS seat. However, he lost the elections and spent the next five years galvanising his party cadres. He gave a miss to the 2014 Lok Sabha polls himself but fielded a candidate from the north Kashmir constituency who lost.

He was elected to the state Assembly from Handwara constituency in the election held in 2014 and he openly aligned with the BJP, who rewarded him by giving him a cabinet berth in PDP-BJP alliance government form March 2015-June 2018.

After the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019, Lone was detained by the authorities for months together and after his release he became part of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Deceleration (PAGD), an alliance formed by Kashmir centric parties for restoration of special status.

However, in January 2021, he left the PAGD and his opponents – National Conference – call his PC as ‘B team’ of the BJP. Lone, who is married to daughter of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front founder Amanullah Khan from Pakistan, was once a staunch separatist opposed to Indian presence in Kashmir. However, he is now considered as the BJP’s face in the Valley.

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(Published 26 February 2024, 12:04 IST)

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