Five former ministers among nearly 24 ex-MLAs, MLCs in fray for maiden DDC polls across J&K

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Jammu, December 2: The presence of nearly two dozen legislators including former ministers and an ex-MP, besides their relatives in the maiden District Development Council elections has created interesting battlefields across Jammu and Kashmir.

Of them, BJP has fielded former legislators Sham Choudhary, Shakti Parihar, Prof Gharu Ram, Bharat Bhushan. While Sham Choudhary and Parihar are former ministers also and they are contesting from Jammu’s Suchetgarh and Doda’s Marmat and Gundna areas respectively, Prof Gharu Ram is in the fray in R S Pura and Bharat Bhushan in Raipur Domana.

Incidently, both Gharu Ram and Bharat Bhushan were expelled by BJP for defying party whip during the 2011 Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Council elections.

Similarly, Congress has fielded its ex-legislators Shabir Khan and Choudhary Akram in Manjakote area of Rajouri district and Surankote of Poonch district, respectively. The former also happens to be former minister.

Apart from them, Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party has fielded two brothers – Ajaz Khan and Mumtaz Khan from Reasi district’s Thuru and Mahore-A constituencies respectively. Their sister Zubeda, who happens to be the wife of Choudhary Zulfikar, is an Apni Party candidate in Kotranka (Budhal Old).

Another former MLA contesting the DDC elections is Charanjit Singh as an independent from Kathua block is a bureaucrat turned politician and the father-in-law of EkkJutt Jammu chairman Ankur Sharma, an advocate, who shot into fame after raking up the issue of minority status to Hindus of Jammu and Kashmir in the  Supreme Court as also challenging the Roshni Act and seeking a CBI enquiry into it through a PIL in the J&K High Court.

An ex-MP T S Bajwa is contesting the elections as Congress party candidate in Suchetgarh.

Other former legislators contesting the DDC elections as Kanta Andora, wife of former minister and chairman of Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan Choudhary Lal Singh from Keerian Gandhiyal in Kathua district, Shehnaz Ganaie from Mandi.

Apart from this, two times MLA and former minister Choudhary Zulfikar who switched over to Apni Party from PDP too has fielded his wife from Kotranka (Budhal) as party candidate. Zubeda happens to be the daughter of a prominent Gujjar leader late Haji Buland Khan and sister of Aijaz Khan and Mumtaz Khan who are contesting from Thuru and Mahore-A respectively.

Zulfikar who had defeated a veteran Gujjar leader Choudhary Liaquat twice in the past is supporting later’s son Naseem in Darhal. However, while former minister’s nephew Javed Iqbal Choudhary is contesting the DDC election against the latter, his wife Shazia Javed has locked horns with former minister’s wife Zubeda in Kotranka (Budhal Old).

In Kashmir, former minister Taj Mohi-ud-Din is contesting in Uri, while Shoaib Lone, a former MLA from Baramulla is contesting on Apni Party ticket in Baramulla and another former MLA Ajaz Mir in Shopian.