Srinagar: National Conference (NC) president Omar Abdullah is set to file his nomination papers on Monday from north Kashmir's Ganderbal constituency, which goes to polls November 23 in the second phase of the seven-phase assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
Abdullah had lost the 2002 Assembly Elections from Ganderbal to Qazi Muhammad Afzal of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The PDP, after much debate and suspense, once again cleared Qazi’s name as the party’s candidate from the constituency.
As forest minister in the previous Congress-PDP coalition government, Qazi had received much flak for the allotment of 40 hectares of forest land to the Amarnath shrine board that manages the two-month-long Amarnath pilgrimage.
The crisis had snowballed into massive protests and saw the withdrawal of the PDP support to the Ghulam Nabi Azad-led coalition government, eventually leading to its fall in July for want of majority in the 87-member legislative assembly.
The NC is, however, confident of Abdullah's victory this time.
“Omar Abdullah will emerge victorious with an overwhelming vote from Ganderbal,” said Gulam Ahmad Saloora, NC’s provincial secretary here.
While a low voter turnout still remains a big worry for mainstream political parties, especially the NC, 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.