Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s brother, Tasaduq Mufti, will contest from Anantnag Lok Sabha seat where bypolls will be held on April 12. “I will be contesting parliament election from Anantnag on a PDP ticket,’’ 45-year-old Tasaduq told The Indian Express. Tasaduq started taking keen interest in the affairs of the PDP after the death of his father, the then chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, and officially joined the party in January this year. He is closely associated with his elder sister Mehbooba.
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He is likely to be pitted against state Congress chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir, who could be the joint candidate of the Congress and National Conference (NC). Two Lok Sabha seats of Srinagar and Anantnag will go to polls on April 9 and 12, respectively. Both the seats were represented by the PDP. Mehbooba won from Anantnag in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. She resigned from the seat after she became CM last year following the death of her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.
Last September, Srinagar MP Tariq Hameed Karra quit the seat after he resigned from the PDP, blaming the party and its coalition partner, the BJP, for the killing of civilians by security forces during the unrest in the Valley. Karra later joined the Congress. The bypoll to Srinagar Lok Sabha seat will be held on April 9.
The PDP is most likely to field Nazeer Khan, who recently quit the Congress, from Srinagar. The Congress, which is in touch with the NC for seat-sharing, is keen to contest from Anantnag and would like the NC to field its candidate in Srinagar. “We have already sent a list of probable candidates to the party high command for approval. We are also in talks with the NC over sharing of seats,’’ said Mir.
The NC has, meanwhile, authorised its patron Farooq Abdullah to take a call on the seat-sharing agreement with the Congress.
On the other hand, the BJP, the coalition partner of PDP, has decided contest both the Lok Sabha seats.
Stating that there would be no pre-poll alliance with the PDP, BJP state general secretary Ashok Kaul said, “We will contest the bypolls in Srinagar and Anantnag Lok Sabha seats. The party will announce the names of the candidates soon.”