NC fields veteran Gujjar leader from Anantnag-Rajouri constituency

Fayaz Bukhari

SRINAGAR, Apr 1: National Conference (NC) today announced former Minister and senior leader Mian Altaf as party candidate for the Lok Sabha elections from Anantnag-Rajouri constituency.
The announcement was made by party vice-president Omar Abdullah here at Nawe Subh headquarters of the party today.
He said that there will be no better candidate than Mian Altaf from the Anantnag-Rajouri constituency, as he has never sought votes on religious or other lines.
He said that Mian Altaf has vast popularity across various segments of the society and that he would garner substantial support from the people. Click here to watch video
Hailing from the influential Mian family, Altaf has served as a Minister and Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Kangan, Kashmir, since 1987, initially contesting under the banner of the Indian National Congress (INC) before joining the NC.
The family’s stronghold over Kangan is evident from their consecutive victories in the last nine Assembly elections since 1962. Mian Nizamuddin secured the seat in 1962, succeeded by his son Mian Bashir Ahmad, who won three subsequent elections. Mian Altaf Ahmad continued this legacy by triumphing in the Assembly elections of 1987, 1996, 2002, 2008, and 2014 from the same constituency.

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By nominating Mian Altaf as its candidate for Anantnag-Rajouri Parliamentary constituency, the NC is trying to get hold of Gujjar vote from twin districts of Pir Panjal region which was added recently to Anantnag constituency and it was re-named as Anantnag-Rajouri constituency.
Mian has a lot of following in Pir Panjal where there is sizable pollution of Gujjars and it became the main reason for fielding him from Anantnag-Rajouri constituency.
The Mian family enjoys a lot of respect in the Valley and on the ground, shifting of Congress and PDP (if they don’t field a candidate) votes towards NC will become easier. Besides, the NC has its own huge vote bank in the constituency.
Previously, former High Court Judge, Justice (retd) Hasnain Masoodi of NC was representing the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat.
The total votes of Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha seat are 19,25, 450 out of which around 11 lakh votes are from South Kashmir whereas Rajouri and Poonch districts have over 8 lakh votes.
There is a big chunk of Pahari votes in these two districts who are overjoyed after the Government announced reservation for the community and Pahari leaders have assured the Bharatiya Janta Party of full support during the elections.

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