In a significant move ahead of Lok Sabah polls in Anantnag constituency, former PDP MLA and Minister, Syed Bashir, who represented Rajpora, Pulwama, in state assembly joined Congress in Ghulam Nabi Azad’s presence.
Syed Bashir was associated with politics from his college days. He remained associated with Janata Dal, Indian National Congress and Jan Morcha. Apart from his political affiliation with different political parties, he has also remained associated with various social organisations.
In the 1996 state assembly elections, he was a Janata Dal candidate for Pulwama constituency. He contested against the National Conference candidate, but lost by a thin margin. Later in 1999, when Mufti Mohammad Sayeed founded the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Syed Bashir was one among the founding members.
In 2002 assembly elections, Syed Bashir was given the mandate to contest from the Rajpora constituency. He emerged as victorious and was made a minister of state for education.
He later held the portfolios of PHE, Irrigation and Flood and Control and Roads and Buildings too. In 2008 assembly elections, he got 10,177 votes and was declared a winner from Rajpora once again.
In July 2005, he was attacked at crowded Budshah Chowk in Srinagar when he was on way to Civil Secretariat.
He escaped unhurt but two of his personal security officers (PSO) and a civilian were injured in the incident.
In July 2014, Syed Bashir was expelled from the party accused of doing ‘anti-party activities’.
“Dropping me from the assembly candidature was never my domain to question about but accusing me of something like this was painful. If the party decided that Drabu was the right candidate they should have conveyed me in a way which suits the organised parties.”
His expulsion from the party led to protests in the Rajpora Constituency. These protesters later drove to Srinagar and staged a protest outside PDP president’s official Gupkar residence and demanded mandate in favour of Syed Bashir.
On 30 October 2014, Syed Bashir Ahmad announced to contest legislative assembly, as an independent candidate. “Though many political parties had offered me the ticket then but I declined them as my workers and supporters wanted me to contest independently.”
But he lost the elections. “It was choice of the people of my constituency. Win or loss is not what matters but to stand for the dignity is what matters to me.”
With Syed Bashir joining Congress before upcoming polls and his opponent Dr Haseeb Drabu out of the PDP and politics for now, it is going to be an interesting contest in Rajpora.
– Umar Mukhtar