SRINAGAR: Setting all speculation at rest, opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron and former J&K Chief Minister, Mufi Mohammad Sayeed, will contest the Assembly elections, scheduled to be held later this year.
A PDP spokesman said party's powerful Political Affairs Committee (PAC) met here today to decide on the mandate of the candidates for the forthcoming Assembly election.
“The meeting, which was attended by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti and some other senior leaders discussed threadbare the names of the candidates and finalized names of candidates for 11 seats,” he said.
PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, according to party spokesman, will contest from his home constituency in Anantnag.
There were speculations that Mufti may not contest the Assembly elections and prefer Legislative Council path in case his party was in a position to form government after the election.
Although party has not announced Mufti as chief ministerial candidate, but party leaders said he will be the chief minister in case party comes to power.
The economist and former chairman of J&K Bank, Haseeb A Drabu, who recently joined PDP, will contest from Rajpora Assembly seat in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
Pulwama district along with Anantnag and Shopian districts is the stronghold of PDP.
According to PDP spokesman, M Khalil Bandh will contest from Pulwama, Mohammad Yousuf Bhat from Shopian, Raja Manzoor from Karnah, Mohammad Abass Wani from Gulmarg, Mohammad Iqbal Kazmi from Surankote, Suhuabul Haq from Doda, Firdous Tak from Kishtwar, M Maroof Khan from Mendhar and Nazir Ahmad Naikoo from Sopore.
The party has already announced candidates for 49 of the 87 seats for J&K Assembly elections.
However, the party is struggling to announce candidates for Batamaloo and Baramulla assembly seats, which were represented by Tariq Hamid Karra and Muzaffar Hussain Baig respectively. Both won Lok Sabha elections from Srinagar and Baramulla seats respectively.
There are reports that both Karra and Baig are pressing the party leadership to give mandates to their wives for Batamaloo and Baramulla seats respectively. Both are lobbying hard and for this reason, party has not announced candidates for the two seats.
PDP is the only party in the State, which has announced candidates for the Assembly seats. The ruling alliance partners - National Conference and Congress – and other parties are yet to announce candidates and aspirants are busy in lobbying with the leadership to seek mandates for themselves.