BJP ‘candidate’ opts out over ‘anti-Kashmir, anti-Muslim’ manifesto

Srinagar: A BJP worker Wednesday created a controversy after he claimed that he was chosen as the candidate for Srinagar Lok Sabha seat, but he decided not to contest in protest against the party’s stand on Article 370 that guarantees special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
However, the official BJP candidate from the seat Fayaz Ahmad Bhat refuted the claim made by Arif Pampori, saying that he was never the party’s candidate.
“I was the official candidate of BJP for Srinagar Lok Sabha seat, but I have decided not to contest the polls and also resigned from the party,” Pampori told reporters here.
A resident of Old Srinagar City, Pampori said he severed ties with BJP after the party released the election manifesto in which it had committed itself to abrogating Article 370.
“I had asked BJP president Rajnath Singh not to include issues like abrogation of Article 370, Ram Mandir and a common civil code in the party’s manifesto as these are issues which are highly sensitive for Muslims of the country in general and those of Jammu and Kashmir in particular.”
Rejecting Pampori’s claim, Bhatt said, “Some people get disappointed at not getting mandate. Senior party leaders approved my name in Delhi and I filed the nomination papers.”
Pampori’s claim, meanwhile, gave the opposition an opportunity to attack BJP.
“Kashmir se Kanyakumari tak…BJP’s Srinagar candidate withdraws. Not that it would have mattered, but still…an embarrassment,” Salman Anees Soz, a media panelist for Congress, wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter.
The deadline for filing nomination papers for Srinagar Lok Sabha seat ended this afternoon.
Union Minister Farooq Abdullah is seeking re-election from this constituency, which will go to polls on April 30.