Srinagar, April 9: For the first time in the electoral history of Jammu and Kashmir, a non-state subject is contesting the Lok Sabha elections from the Anantnag seat. And in another first, the voting will be spread over three days — April 23, 29 and May 6 — due to security reasons.
Shams Khwaja of Gautam Buddha Nagar in UP, a lawyer, is among the 18 candidates in the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat as his nomination papers have been accepted by District Electoral Officer Khalid Jahangir.
Khwaja told the media, if elected he would fight the disinformation campaign in the country against Article 370 that guarantees special status to J&K.
Khwaja’s nomination as an Independent candidate was contested before the District Electoral Officer by the National Conference (NC) on the ground that his name was not there in the electoral rolls of the constituency.
In his defence, Khwaja said the constitutional requirement was that any contestant for the Lok Sabha polls should figure as a voter in any constituency of the country.
The main contestants in Anantnag are Mehbooba Mufti of the PDP, G.A. Mir of the Congress, Justice (retired) Hasnain Masoodi of the NC.
Sofi Yusuf is fighting elections as a BJP candidate.