No Pre-poll Alliance With Any Party In Kashmir, Says Ex-separatist Sajjad Lone
12 November 2014
: Former separatist leader Sajjad Lone on Tuesday denied pre-poll alliance with any political party a day after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi but did not rule out such a possibility once the results of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections are out on 23 December. 'Post-poll alliance is a matter of post-poll arithmetics,' said Lone, who has revived his slain father Abdul Gani Lone's People's Conference party. The former Hurriyat leader said he was against a pre-poll alliance with any political party saying he wanted to test the electoral waters. 'We will be contesting nearly 28 to 30 seats from the Kashmir Valley,' Lone told PTI. There are 46 assembly seats in the Kashmir Valley. Lone had met Modi on Monday after which he had told reporters that the meeting was aimed only at apprising him about the situation in the state arising after the September floods. He had described Modi as a 'down to earth person' and said that the Prime Minister had spoken to him like an 'elder brother'. Government had also sought to downplay the meeting, saying no meaning should be read into it. Lone said he can work as an agent of change in the state, if the people and the electorate give him their support. Kashmiris should vote for change this time, he said. Praising the Prime Minister, Lone said Modi is a development-oriented person and anyone could meet him for sharing his or her thoughts and ideas. He said the government should take along everyone in ensuring the development of the state which will vote in five phases beginning on 25 November. The voting will be done on 23 December. The meeting with Modi yesterday cames after Lone, whose brother Bilal is an executive member of separatist amalgam Hurriyat Conference, had consultations with BJP leaders including Ram Madhav. Lone has decided to revive People's Conference founded by his father, who was killed by Pakistan-based militants, and his party is contesting from 12 seats in Kupwara and Handwara. After fielding proxy candidates in 2008 elections, Lone had contested the 2009 Lok Sabha elections but finished fifth. He did not contest this year's Lok Sabha elections but fielded a candidate who failed badly.