The Political Affairs Committee (PAC) of ruling PDP tonight finalized party’s strategy for by-election to Srinagar and Anantnag Lok Sabha seats and appointed Education Minister Syed Altaf Bukhari and Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Abdul Rehman Veeri as Incharge for Srinagar and Anantnag seats respectively.
The PAC, which was chaired by Chief Minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, met for about two hours at her official residence but stopped short of announcing the party candidates for two Lok Sabha constituencies, which will go to polls on April 9 and 12.
Names of Nazir Khan, a prominent Congress leader, who had recently joined the PDP and Tasaduq Mufti prominently figured in the PAC meeting for the party’s candidates for Srinagar and Anantnag Lok Sabha seats respectively.
Nazir Khan had lost 2014 Assembly election as Congress candidate to National Conference working president and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah by about 800 votes while Tasaduq Mufti is brother of Mehbooba Mufti, who had returned to Kashmir from Bollywood after the death of his father and former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.
However, sources said, the PAC didn’t finalize the party candidates as some other names were also under consideration. Official announcement of the candidates for two Lok Sabha seats would be made shortly.
The PAC appointed Education Minister Syed Altaf Bukhari, party MLA from Amirakadal in Srinagar district, as Incharge Srinagar Lok Sabha seat. Bukhari was re-inducted into the Cabinet only last month after remaining out of Mehbooba Mufti Government for over 10 months.
The PAC also appointed Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Abdul Rehman Veeri, PDP MLA from Bijbehara, as Incharge Anantnag Lok Sabha seat.
The PDP has also designated party MLAs in the Assembly constituencies of two Lok Sabha seats as Incharge of the Assembly segments. The constituencies, which were represented by the Opposition MLAs, will be headed by MLCs and other senior party leaders.
Sources said the PAC debated prospectus of the PDP in by-election to two Lok Sabha seats and the strategy to be adopted by the party to retain both the seats.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is reported to have called upon the PAC members as well as some Cabinet Ministers, who attended the meeting, to mobilize voters in favour of the party and ensure its victory on both Lok Sabha seats.
Besides Bukhari and Veeri, several Cabinet Ministers and PAC members including PDP’s Lok Sabha member from Baramulla, Muzaffar Hussain Baig attended the meeting.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had vacated Anantnag Lok Sabha seat in June last year after being elected as MLA from Anantnag while PDP MP Tariq Hamid Karra had quit PDP as well as Lok Sabha membership in September last year in protest against what he called “brutalities” against last year’s summer unrest protesters.