It is he biggest mainstream political rally in Jammu and Kashmir not just after 2019, but in the last two or three decades: Sajad Lone

Reyaz Rashid

Baramulla, May 16, 2024: As the countdown to the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha elections intensifies, the political arena in North Kashmir has become a battleground of ideologies and aspirations. Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference leader, Sajjad Lone, orchestrated what can only be described as a historic event—the largest rally Baramulla has witnessed in decades.

In a show of strength and solidarity, thousands thronged to the rally grounds, underscoring the immense support garnered by the People’s Conference in the region. Amidst a sea of enthusiastic supporters, Sajjad Lone reaffirmed his commitment to the people of North Kashmir, promising a future of progress and prosperity.

However, amidst the fervor and anticipation, Lone took a firm stance, vehemently denying any links with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). With conviction, he asserted that the BJP lacked even 2,000 votes in North Kashmir to offer him support, dispelling any speculation of collaboration.

Apni Party Chief Altaf Bukhari urged the massive crowd to turn to polling booths on 20 May to ensure victory of Sajad Shab.

“Me and my younger brother Sajad Shab is one. It is battle between truth and falsehood. We have to give befitting reply to political rivals,” he said while addressing the gathering.

Chairman DDC Baramulla, Mrs Saifina Beigh also appealed people to vote in favour of Sajad Lone and ensure victory.

The rally, a testament to the burgeoning momentum behind the People’s Conference, served as a prelude to the imminent electoral showdown. With stalwart opponents such as Omar Abdullah and the incarcerated Engineer Rashid vying for the coveted seat, the stakes have never been higher.

As the dust settles on what can only be described as a momentous occasion, the stage is set for an epic battle of ideologies and visions for North Kashmir. With just days remaining until polling day, the electorate finds itself at a crossroads, tasked with the responsibility of shaping the future of the region.

In the face of adversity and uncertainty, one thing remains abundantly clear—Sajjad Lone’s rally has irrevocably altered the political landscape of North Kashmir, ushering in a new era of spirited competition and democratic fervor. As the region braces itself for the impending electoral showdown, the echoes of Lone’s rally reverberate, serving as a poignant reminder of the power of unity and collective resolve in the pursuit of change.

“It is he biggest mainstream political rally in Jammu and Kashmir not just after 2019, but in the last two or three decades. The a mammoth crowd is reply to all accusations. Our party is receiving tremendous response in all assembly segments of Baramulla and the rally was the last big programme before the culmination of our campaign,” Sajad told media persons.

Lone, a former animal husbandry minister in the Peoples Democratic Party-Bharatiya Janata Party coalition state government led by Mehbooba Mufti, is aiming for a debut in the Parliament. On the other hand Abdullah, who has had past stints in the Parliament and also served as minister of state for external affairs in Atal Bihari Vajpayee-government, is debuting from Baramulla constituency.

In the past 10 days, the campaign in north Kashmir has picked up as both Lone and Abdullah are holding back-to-back rallies. PDP, which has given ticket to former MP Fayaz Mir, and supporters of jailed former legislator Engineer Rashid are also holding roadshows, rallies and meetings in different parts of north Kashmir.

The contest in the Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency reflects the complex socio-political landscape of Kashmir, with competing narratives and aspirations shaping the electoral dynamics. From the bustling markets of Sopore town, once the hotbed of militancy and separatism, to the serene shores of Wular Lake, every corner of this constituency has its own unique identity and charm.

Politically, Baramulla has always been a hotbed of activity, with its residents actively participating in the democratic process. Elections here are fiercely contested, with candidates from various parties vying for the support of the electorate.

Even during the days of separatists and militants in Kashmir, the polling percentage in the Baramulla seat used to be comparatively higher than that in the other two Lok Sabha constituencies in Kashmir —Srinagar and Anantnag. Besides Baramulla, the constituency encompasses the Assembly segments of three other districts— Kupwara, Bandipora and Budgam.

The seat has a total of 18 assembly segments. This time, the Bramulla contest would be essentially between Omar and Sajad, with the decision of the Congress to support the NC, its I.N.D.I.A ally, further boosting the former CM’s chances. On the other hand, Sajad is getting support from non-I.N.D.I.A parties, like the Altaf Bukhari-led J&K Apni Party, which are perceived to be close to the BJP.

There has been high-pitched campaigning in Baramulla, with both Omar and Sajad levelling allegations against each other, Sajad calls Omar a “tourist who spends summers in London and winters in warmer climates abroad”, while the latter termed the former the proxy of the BJP. The entry of two-time MLA and jailed leader Sheikh Abdul Rashid, popularly known as Engineer Rashid, into the fray has added another interesting dimension to the polling.


Shaharbeen News Service Kashmir is a news service which covers, gathers, writes, and distributes news to newspapers, periodicals, radio and television broadcasters, government agencies, and other users. We at SNS Kashmir believe in fair and independent journalism to inform our masses or subscribers and readers about the happenings around the world. The prime focus of the news gathering and reporting is focused on Jammu and Kashmir state.

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