JAMMU: Sajjad’s People’s Conference also managed to win the nearby Kupwara Assembly constituency with his party candidate Bashir Ahmad Dar defeating three-time National Conference MLA Mir Saifullah.
Lone’s inclusion in the government from the BJP quota has not come as a surprise as his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November 2014 ahead of the Assembly polls had fuelled speculation of a tie-up.
“The PM is a great human being. I was pleasantly surprised with his down-to-earth personality, his vision about bringing in investments into the state,” Lone had said.
Sajjad Lone’s elder brother Bilal is an executive member in the moderate faction of separatist Hurriyat Conference.
Sajjad did his schooling from the prestigious Burn Hall School in Srinagar.
He completed his high school in 1980. He graduated from University of Wales, College of Cardiff, the UK in 1989.
Sajjad and his wife Asma have two sons — Emad and Adnan.
Electoral politics is nothing new to Sajjad, who grew up watching his father Abdul Gani Lone take on stalwarts of Kashmir politics like NC founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah both inside and outside the Assembly.
The Lone Senior was a member of the Assembly for four consecutive terms from 1967 to 1987, before he joined hands with several other separatist groups to form Hurriyat Conference in early 1990s.
A supporter of “the restoration of internal autonomy in Kashmir”, Sajjad Lone is also the author and the propounder of the model of ‘Achievable Nationhood’, which talks about economically single boundary-less Jammu and Kashmir jointly managed by India and Pakistan.
In the previous BJP-PDP government led by the then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Lone was given the Animal and Sheep Husbandry portfolio, initially he was reluctant to take over but later joined the office.