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Nov 23, 2008 at 04:04pm IST

J-K bring 'faith healers' to woo voters

Rajouri: The hill district of Rajouri in Jammu and Kashmir is doing the last minute campaigning in the name of god. Its second-phase polling starts on Sunday.

Muzaffar Hussain Shah or Baji Sahib as he is known, is the People's Democratic Party's (PDP) trump card in Rajouri. He is a popular faith healer and enjoys a strong following among the locals.

He has been roped in by PDP in an attempt to win its first seat ever in the district.

PDP candidate, Kalakote, Rajouri Abdul Khalaq says, “Is waq hallat ke andar baji jahan jaate hai inke peeche (He is a strong supporter for our party where ever he goes, people follow him in large numbers).

For the residents of these hills, Baji Sahib's words carry more weight than lofty promises of politicians.

Voter Nasir Hussain says, “Meri bakri, ghoda inhone theek kiya (This man healed my horses and my cattle so I will listen to him).”

Not to be outdone, the National Conference (NC) too is banking on faith to rope in votes.

It is countering Baji Sahib's charms with MLA and spiritual leader Mian Bashir, who is leading the party's campaign.

Top leaders of both parties are even invoking the name of spiritual gurus at their rallies.

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti says, “Aapko Qasam hai Baba Ghulama Badshah ki is paar PDP ko hi vote dena (Please cast your vote to PDP this time).

However, which of these spiritual leaders will work the miracle for either party will be revealed only on the counting day.

(With inputs from Pradeep Kumar)