Senior NC leader quits party to back PDP

Just nine days ahead of the first phase of poling in Jammu and Kashmir, the ruling National Conference (NC) on Sunday received another jolt when one of its senior leaders and former Lok Sabha MP Mehboob Beg extended unconditional support to opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.

Beg, son of NC stalwart, the late Mirza Afzal Beg, was scheduled to contest against Mufti from the prestigious Anantnag constituency in the fourth phase on December 14.

However, he announced his decision to quit the party at a workers’ meet at his residence at Sarnal in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.

“I won’t contest on NC ticket and will support Mufti sahib. There is a PDP wave by and large in J&K,” he told workers.

Claiming that the RSS was making inroads into Kashmir in the garb of the BJP, the former MP said: “The BJP is actually the RSS. It has made an intrusion into Kashmir. To stop this intrusion, if the NC had courage, they would have done something. But they are worried only about their own constituencies,” he said.

“I extend unconditional support to Mufti Mohammad Sayeed as he is the only person who can halt the BJP’s march in Kashmir,” Beg added. He, however, said he would not be joining the PDP at the moment.

Beg was the NC candidate in the 2014 Lok Sabha election but lost by over 40,000 votes to PDP president Mehbooba Mufti from Anantnag. Though several senior NC leaders have quit the party in the recent weeks, Beg is the most high profile leader to have walked away.

Earlier this month, MLC from Ganderbal, Sheikh Ghulam Rasool resigned from the NC and later joined the PDP.

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