New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has decided to field RTI activist and former PDP member Raja Muzaffar Bhat at the Srinagar-Budgam constituency in the coming Lok Sabha polls, making the contest at the prestigious seat a triangular one.
Bhat will be contesting against Union Minister and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and PDP’s senior leader and former state finance minister Tariq Hamid Karra. Farooq is the sitting MP in the seat.
Bhat, 37, was announced as party’s candidate from the constituency in the second list of 30 candidates for the LS polls released by the AAP in New Delhi on Thursday.
Muzaffar Bhat is an RTI activist and had a brief stint in the Opposition PDP. He resigned from the party on February 10 last year after the hanging of Parliament attack convict Mohammad Afzal Guru.
AAP sources said that the AAP may contest in all the six LS seats in Jammu and Kashmir.
AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal may visit Kashmir next month. “He may stay in Kashmir for two days and campaign for Bhat,” sources said.
Earlier, Kejrwal had included Farooq Abdullah in his list of “corrupt” politicians in the country. The party may field a lady candidate from Leh-Ladakh constituency. The AAP is also planning to open an office in Srinagar.
Srinagar-Budgam LS seat has been witnessing contest between the NC and PDP candidates. Srinagar is considered as a stronghold of the NC. And the less less voter turnout due to election boycott by some outfits during the past elections had helped the party.
But the PDP has also made inroads into Srinagar, and Karra had won 2002 Assembly elections from Batamaloo constituency in Srinagar.
Although he lost the election in the 2008 Assembly polls from the seat, he still has a solid support base in his constituency.
In a surprising development, the BJP has not announced any candidate from the Srinagar-Budgam parliamentary seat. The party has announced candidates from five other seats in the State, but not from Srinagar.
The BJP has fielded state party president Jughal Kishore from Jammu-Poonch seat, Dr Jatinder Singh from Udhampur-Doda, Ghulam Muhammad Pir from Kupwara-Baramulla seat in North Kashmir, Mushtaq Ahmad Malik from Pulwama-Anantnag constituency in South Kashmir and Thunpstan Chhewag from Leh-Ladakh.