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After his long successful political career has Azad taken a big risk now?

03:46 AM Apr 06, 2024 IST | ZAHOOR MALIK
after his long successful political career has azad taken a big risk now
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Srinagar, Apr 5: After a successful political career, spanning over decades together and mostly at national level, has Ghulam Nabi Azad now taken a big political risk by deciding to contest the parliamentary polls from Anantnag-Rajouri-Poonch constituency?

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If one goes by his own words then he decided to contest to lead his party, Democratic Progressive Azad Party ( DPAP), from the front and also to carry forward his incomplete struggle in Parliament for the rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. " I have decided to join the electoral fray and the victory or defeat is in the hands of people and Allah. I have been always a fighter on political front and will remain so at present and future also," Azad told media persons while divulging the reasons behind him contesting the elections. He also denied any kind of pressure on him from any quarter to take such a decision. National Conference (NC) Vice President Omar Abdullah had claimed that may be the DPAP chairman is under some pressure to contest from Anantnag-Rajouri-Poonch seat and not from Udhampur - Doda constituency of which his stronghold, Chenab Valley is a part.

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For winning an election the goodwill among the majority of voters for the candidate or his party is essential. Secondly, it is also important to have a strong party cadre at the grassroots level to channelise this goodwill into votes. So far as Azad is concerned, he has been trying to highlight that during his tenure as chief minister in past his main focus was on development and that he did lot of work in this direction. He hopes that people will support him and vote for him to elect him to the parliament.

But it is also a fact that unlike the major parties like NC, BJP, and PDP, the DPAP being a new party does not have a strong organisational network in Anantnag - Rajouri- Poonch constituency. That way DPAP may face practical problems at the ground level. NC too has fielded a strong candidate and a prominent party and Gujjar leader Mian Altaf Ahmad from the constituency. Realising the electoral changes in the constituency during delimitation exercise and subsequent new requirements, NC preferred Mian Altaf for Anantnag -Rajouri-Poonch constituency. Apni Party has announced to field Zaffar Iqbal Mannhas as its candidate in the constituency. Earlier, there were reports that Apni Party and DPAP may form an poll alliance. But that did not materlialise. It is to be seen who from the PDP and BJP will finally contest from the Anantnag- Rajouri-Poonch constituency and what impact they can create on the electoral scene. NC Vice President Omar Abdullah said that Congress will support NC candidates in Anantnag- Rajouri-Poonch, Srinagar and Baramulla Lok Sabha constituencies. Likewise NC is supporting Congress candidates in Jammu and Udhampur- Doda constituencies.

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Going by the results of 2014 and 2019 and the present trend, Udhampur- Doda seat was not safe for Azad this time, political analysts say. He contested from there in 2014 and lost. Even those in political circles believe that there were no chances for Azad in Udhampur - Doda constituency this time also. So he decided to take a big risk and contest from Anantnag -Rajouri-Poonch seat.

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But how his move can impact his party in Jammu and Kashmir after the parliamentary polls is to be seen later. When he formed DPAP few years back, he had said that he returned to local Jammu and Kashmir politics to serve the people even as he was offered roles by various parties at national level. If he wins Lok Sabha polls this time, who can lead his party electorally in coming assembly polls? This is the question being asked in political circles. Azad says if elected to parliament he can return to local politics again when assembly polls are held.

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Victory or defeat of candidates will be decided by the voters on polling day, but presence of Azad in the electoral fray can affect the performance of other rival candidates also. His vote share is going to play a vital role in the poll result. To a question whether division of votes among various parties can brighten the chances of BJP in Anantnag -Rajouri-Poonch constituency, he said,"How can you say BJP can win? It is upto the people to whom they will vote and make victorious. Nothing can be said about the politics."

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According to DPAP chairman restoration of full-fledged statehood is an important demand. "If one goes by the reports for last one year then J&K may get a statehood like that of Delhi and Pondicherry, where the elected state government has limited powers. I want to go to parliament and fight for full-fledged statehood to Jammu and Kashmir and for other rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir," he said. Azad may seek votes on this promise and also on his performance as chief minister. But will he able to succeed in his efforts will be known on result day. Till then his contesting the polls from Anantnag-Rajouri-Poonch constituency will be seen by many as a big risk in his long political career, which is considered as a mixed bag of extensive hardwork and luck.

However, there are others who believe that since Azad is in the process of building his new party, contesting the parliamentary polls can help him that way irrespective of the results. " At this stage of his political career, he has nothing to lose even if he losses. The process of winning or losing election is not something new for politicians. It is part of their political careers. Nothing wrong for him in experimenting new things. Contesting Lok Sabha polls will bring him closer to people through campaigning and that may later help his party in assembly polls," said a political analyst. According to the analyst some other senior leaders, who were chief ministers in the past, too are not very much confident about their victory if they contest this time. If they face such a situation, Azad' s contesting polls in seemingly unfavourable conditions is a big move by him though being considered risky by others, he added.

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