SRINAGAR: As days are coming closer to Lok Sabha elections, political parties of Jammu and Kashmir are yet to finalise the list of contestants though discussions and meetings are underway to field notable candidates.Sources said that discussions and meetings are underway for the last few weeks by regional parties to finalise the list, however, many prominent political faces have refused to take part in the elections. The Lok Sabha polls are likely to take place in April and May this year.

A local news agency has learnt from sources that Dr Farooq Abdullah led National Conference has also held several meetings in this regard, and party’s top brass has pinned their hope on the incumbent MP Dr Farooq Abdullah and want him to contest the polls from Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency.

They say that since Farooq Abdullah is likely to be the star campaigner for united opposition parties at the national level and in Jammu and Kashmir and this would not confine himself to Srinagar Parliamentary constituency. “He has as such shown his unwillingness so far to contest polls from Srinagar, which comprises five districts – Ganderbal, Srinagar, Pulwama, Shopain and Budgam.”

Sources also suggested that in order to silence the BJP narrative that Kashmir parties are promoting dynasty politics and fanning communal agenda, the NC top leadership is mulling to filed an all parties acceptable prominent Kashmiri Pandit heavy weight as a consensus candidate for Srinagar constituency.

They said that they are deliberating on the issue to field person acceptable across board even with non mainstream political opinion. “This could be a master political move to silence anti-Kashmir Muslim propaganda and send a wide signal across the country that Kashmir continues to be a cradle of civilisation and Kashmiris are a secular & patriotic society,” they said.

Similarly, Apni Party led by Altaf Bukhari has also geared its public outreach programme by holding public meetings and conventions across Jammu and Kashmir. Sources said that the party is holding deliberations to finalise candidates for all 5 Lok Sabha constituencies.

People’s Conference led by Sajad Lone have also held several meetings in central and north Kashmir where according to sources discussions took place about candidates who will fight the polls from Jammu & Kashmir.

“Party high command has decided that PC chairman Sajad Gani Lone will contest polls from north Kashmir. Lone has accepted the proposal of the high command,” sources said.

They added that as polls approach closer, the regional parties in J&K have geared up its public outreach across the length and breadth of J&K.

Mehbooba Mufti led PDP has also accelerated its public outreach programmes especially in southern Kashmir and Pir Panchal region this time.

Sources believe that she is likely to contest polls from Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha constituency, while J&K Congress unit is also holding deliberations to finalise candidates’ list for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.(KNS)

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