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Newbies may test regular J&K parties (Lead, correcting para 18) (Dangal 2019)

IANS  |  Jammu/Srinagar 

Although the main battle in the Lok Sabha and the Assembly elections in is likely to be between traditional rivals, yet the fate of many new faces who have thrown their hats into the ring would be keenly watched.

While the main battle is going to be between the regional National Conference (NC) and Peoples (PDP), and the right-wing (BJP) and the centrist Congress, emergence of new political forces would make the upcoming elections interesting to watch.

And one of the new political forces could be Sajad Lone-led Peoples Conference (PC), which is likely to pose a challenge to the NC and the PDP, even if leaders of these parties do not want to overplay the threat.

Senior Shia leader and former has joined Sajad's the as well as some former PDP legislators.

Sajad, a in the Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP-BJP ruling coalition, had been accommodated by the BJP in the cabinet from its own ministerial quota.

Sajad hit the headlines when he called his 'elder brother' during the 2014 Assembly elections, which he won from the Handwara constituency. In the violence-ravaged Valley, a local non-BJP leader calling Modi elder brother was seen as a bold gesture.

He has denied forming any Third Front in the state, asserting his father late Abdul Gani Lone had floated the as a political party with its own agenda and moorings.

The fate of candidates would be keenly watched during both the elections as Sajad has decided to field candidates in all the J&K seats.

Another party to come up is the Dogra Swabhiman Sanghathan, formed by Choudhary Lal Singh, a Singh could field candidates for the Assembly elections and himself contest the Kathua-Udhampur Lok Sabha seat.

According to political observers, he has his pockets of influence in the district and could cut into the BJP's in the constituency.

While the NC and the are likely to shortly announce a pre-poll alliance for the Lok Sabha elections, the Farooq Abdullah-led party has decided not to repeat the pre-poll alliance with the for the Assembly elections.

As far as newbies are concerned, two senior IAS officers, two judges, two retired top police officers and many other former bureaucrats and engineers would be trying their luck at the hustings this time.

The most prominent among the former IAS officers is He became a household name in the state after topping the 2009 civil service examinations, the first candidate from the state to do so.

He became a for thousands of Kashmiris, pursuing dreams of becoming administrators.

After serving at many senior positions in the state bureaucracy, Faesal went to the US on a Fullbright fellowship at the prestigious On return, he announced his intention to give up the comforts of an assured career in the bureaucracy and join the hustle and bustle of

Approached by many political parties, Faesal wants to chalk his own path. "People wanted me to form a new political party since they have tried all the old ones. I have a mission and a dream. I want to fight the system while remaining within it," he told IANS.

He is likely to announce his new party -- Peoples Movement (JKPM) -- on Sunday. JNU students' union activist and some other prominent locals are expected to join Faesal in his fight against atrocities, rights violations, corruption and exploitation.

Former who quit the PDP has announced his decision to join Faesal is likely to contest Lok Sabha elections from north constituency. He may face (NC) and (PDP) in the constituency.

Another recently quit the to join the NC. Welcoming Shah into the party, former said his entry would improve the party's chances to win the seat.

Shah belongs to the Tangmarg area, north Kashmir, and is believed to wield considerable influence there because of his family background and the good work he did in Gulmarg both as the and later as the

The NC has not won this seat since 2002, when Omar's was defeated by of the Nationalist (DPN).

Two retired inspectors general of police (IGPs), and Shafqat Ali Watali, have also joined the NC. While Ali is expected to help the NC in the constituency, Watali could be fielded against (independent) from the Langate seat.

Though the Watali family belongs to the Handwara area of north Kashmir, defeating a well-entrenched Rashid would not be easy for the former

Two district and sessions judges, and Muzaffar Iqbal Khan, have also taken premature retirement to join

Thus, the electoral prospects of Sajad's PC and former bureaucrats, police officers and judges would be keenly watched in the state.

Will the emergence of new political equations and individuals impact mainstream is a big question that only the time can tell.

--IANS

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, March 16 2019. 19:10 IST
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