SRINAGAR: Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir are unlikely to be held anytime soon, but the infighting among National Conference party cadres in Bandipora constituency has already taken centre stage over poll tickets.

The internal rivalry between two camps in the party’s Bandipora unit came to the fore on Wednesday when district president Ghulam Rasool Naz skipped the party convention that was presided over by former chief minister and NC vice-president Omar Abdullah.

During the party convention in Bandipora, Omar Abdullah announced from the stage that those who skipped the event would be expelled from the party immediately. “There is no room for indiscipline in our party,” he said, adding that the party general secretary, Ali Mohammad Sagar, will issue a formal order regarding the same.

Naz, a two-time MLA, is an old loyalist of the NC in Bandipora district and has been instrumental in keeping the party cadres together even during difficult times.

The infighting within the Bandipora unit began after the NC announced constituency in-charges for assembly segments across the Kashmir Valley on November 2 last year. The appointment of advocate Nazir Ahmad Malik, who sources say is seen close to party vice-president Omar Abdullah, as constituency head was not well-received by the camp led by Naz.

Naz’s daughter-in-law, Dr Bilquees, a former chief medical officer in Bandipora, is also eyeing the NC ticket from the constituency, but the appointment of Malik as constituency in-charge is seen as a snub to Naz’s camp by the party high command.

Both Malik and Bilquees have been carrying out political activities in Bandipora separately, creating confusion among the party cadre.

In addition to Malik and Dr Bilquees, there are other aspirants as well for the NC ticket in the constituency. Sameer Iqbal Bhat, who was the NC’s youth vice-president for north zone, had also resigned from the party over the announcement of Malik being appointed as constituency in-charge. However, he recently returned to the party fold after resigning from the People’s Conference that he had joined earlier this year.

As the infighting grows further with the expulsion of Ghulam Rasool Naz, it remains to be seen who the party will go with if assembly elections are held anytime soon. (KNO)


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