The ruling National Conference suffered a blow in poll-bound Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday when the party’s candidate from Anantnag, Mehboob Beg, quit the party. Mr. Beg also withdrew from the elections and offered unconditional support to Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, People’s Democratic Party’s patron, who is contesting from the same constituency.
While Mr. Beg said he had no plans of joining the PDP, he said strengthening the party was the only way to fight the right-wing forces.
“If we have to stop the march of the RSS and the BJP in Jammu and Kashmir, we must strengthen the hands of Mufti Muhammad Sayeed,” Mr. Beg said.
Mr. Beg added that he was never taken into confidence by the party leadership and that his suggestions on organisational matters and development works in Anantnag were ignored.
Mr. Beg, son of NC stalwart late Mirza Afzal Beg, announced his decision at a meeting of party workers meet at his residence at Sarnal in Anantnag.
Reacting to the resignation, J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah called Mr. Beg’s decision was taken for personal reasons. “Look at the reasons he is quitting for and the time at which he has quit. If he had left after the bloodbath in 2010 or after the Afzal Guru’s hanging, that would have meant something, but this means nothing,” Mr. Abdullah told The Hindu.
“It is telling that he is leaving alone and no one from the party is going with him. If those who leave take the party workers, that would be a problem but on his own, Beg’s leaving doesn’t mean much,” Mr. Abdullah said.
Earlier, while campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls in South Kashmir, Mr. Beg had accused Mr. Sayeed of having a tactical alliance with the BJP and saw PDP as a threat to Article 370 and Kashmir’s special status. He lost the 2008 Assembly elections to Mufti Mohammad Sayeed from Anantnag but won the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. Earlier this year, he lost the Anantnag Parliamentary seat to PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti by 40,000 votes.