October 2002 News

PC forges alliance with independents

7 October 2002
The Pioneer
Khursheed Wani

Srinagar: PROXY ELECTION candidates of Peoples'' Conference, an important constituent of All Party Hurriyat Conference, on Monday forged an alliance with other Independent candidates in a bid to frustrate the National Conference''s plans to form the next Government in Jammu and Kashmir. The 15-member alliance includes two sitting MLA''s of National Conference, one of them a former minister, who were denied mandate by the ruling party, forcing them to plunge into the fray as independent candidates. ''We consider the National Conference the most dreaded enemy of the Kashmiri people and the root-cause of many chronic ailments,'' said Ghulam Mohiuddin Sofi, convenor of the newly formed Democratic Peoples'' Forum. Sofi, a confidante of slain Hurriyat leader Abdul Ghani Lone is contesting from Handwara segment of Kupwara and is considered as the PC dummy candidate. The Forum envisages overwhelming victory of independent candidates and foresees active role in the Government formation in the State. Shia leader and MLA Agha Syed Mahmood, who resigned last month as Minister of State for Education and Faqir Muhammad Khan, MLA from Gurez are among the prominent members of the forum. The two MLAs left the ruling party after having been denied the mandate. Sources said the Forum members have close contacts with Congress, which might rope them in to form a coalition government, if Congress wins a modest number of seats. Independents, observers say, are in a good stead at four segments in Kashmir Valley. With the voter base of the National Conference eroding, the Independents may play an important part in the number game if the mandate is divided. While more and more analysts are hinting at this possibility, ie a hung Assembly, National Conference chief Omar Abdullah on Sunday expressed confidence that his party would get the majority.


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