Omar Abdullah enters fray, files nomination papers


Srinagar : National Conference president Omar Abdullah Monday filed his nomination papers from the Kashmir Valley’s Ganderbal assembly constituency where voting will be conducted Nov 23 in the second round of the seven-phase elections in the state.

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This is second time Abdullah is testing his luck from the north Kashmir constituency, where he was defeated by Peoples Democratic Party candidate Qazi Mohammed Afzal in the 2002 election.

The National Conference president would again be taking on Afzal, the former forest minister who was at the centrestage of bitter Amarnath land row.

Accompanied by senior party leaders, including former finance minister Raheem Rather, Abdullah submitted to poll authorities his nomination papers in the afternoon amid a tension after some angry youth tore down National Conference banners in the town.

After filing his papers, Abdullah said he would work for the overall development of the Ganderbal that was a safe National Conference bastion until the 2002 election.

“We have learnt lessons from past mistakes. We will ensure allround development of the Ganderbal district,” Abdullah said.

Tension gripped the town after some youths pulled down the National Conference banners and hoardings in the morning.

“Omar Abdullah will emerge victorious with an overwhelming vote from Ganderbal,” said Gulam Ahmad Saloora, the party’s provincial secretary.

While a low voter turnout still remains a big worry for mainstream political parties, especially the Natioinal Conference, Abdullah, by deciding to contest from Ganderbal, wants to re-establish himself in the constituency that has been represented by his father Farooq Abdullah and grandfather Sheikh Abdullah in the past.