AAP: Yet to finalise candidate for Srinagar LS seat

SRINAGAR:  The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is preparing a “ground report” about its announced contender for Srinagar Lok Sabha seat Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat, suggesting that his nomination may not be final yet.

AAP says it’s collecting verbal and documented accounts available on Bhat’s political and apolitical background so far. And the report will be put before the party leadership in New Delhi to take the final call on his nomination.

“Bhat’s nomination is more in a ‘liquid shape’ as yet. We want to collect all ground details to be sure that he is the right man for the job. I will prepare the report within few days, and then the final decision will be made at New Delhi,” AAP J&K’s convener Samir Sar told Kashmir Reader on Saturday.

Bhat’s name had figured in AAP’s second list of the Lok Sabha candidates released earlier this week. Bhat, a resident of Budgam in central Kashmir, was a member of J&K RTI Movement until he was dispelled from this activists’ body on undisclosed reasons. He later joined pro-India Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) but left it after a brief stint due to unknown reasons.

Bhat’s name, it is reliably learnt, was recommended to AAP by a young IAS officer from north Kashmir.  “The officer, who is presently holding a top post in a north Kashmir district, had suggested Bhat’s name to Prashant Bhushan, one of the founding members of AAP, whom he shares a personal rapport with,” the sources told Kashmir Reader.

If his nomination stays unchanged, Bhat will be challenging political bigwig Farooq Abdullah, who is the incumbent Member of Parliament from Srinagar, in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

According to AAP’s Sar, besides Bhat there are three other candidates in the fray including a US-returned relative of celebrated poet Agha Shahid Ali and a young businessman from downtown here. The three are “strong contenders,” for the Srinagar seat, Sar said.

AAP will be contesting its first elections from Kashmir after it jumped to fame with its spectacular show in New Delhi’s recently held Assembly elections. The party had initially approached the ‘aam admi’ of Kashmir via SMSs and emails and is reported to have received a million applications already.  It has opened an office in Baramulla district while its headquarters is likely to be made operational here soon.

“We intend to make Srinagar a kind of a central office for three regions of the state. We have a few places in mind for setting up our office, and hopefully we will soon have an office in Srinagar,” Sar added.