Ghulam Nabi Azad
Ghulam Nabi Azad addressing a rally at DodaDPAP office

Ending all suspense veteran politician and founder of the Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) Ghulam Nabi Azad ultimately announced not to contest the election on the Anantnag-Rajouri Parliamentary seat of Jammu and Kashmir.

Although Ghulam Nabi Azad has maintained a guarded silence over withdrawing himself from the electoral battlefield, Kashmir province president of the DPAP Mohammad Amin Bhat informed the media that the party has decided to field Advocate Mohammad Saleem Parray for the Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha seat.

"From the very beginning, Ghulam Nabi Azad was hesitating to contest the election but the party was forcing him to contest from the Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha seat. Ultimately the party has decided that he will not contest the elections", Bhat said and added that Azad will be the Chief Ministerial candidate of the DPAP for the Assembly elections whenever they are held in Jammu and Kashmir.

Meanwhile, Advocate Mohammed Saleem Parray thanked the party leadership for nominating him as a candidate for the Anantnag-Rajouri seat.

"It is an honour for me that I have been given a chance to serve the people of Jammu Kashmir," he said.

Ghulam Nabi Azad
DAP media cell

Earlier Azad expressed his unwillingness to contest the elections

Shortly after his party nominated him for this significant seat, Ghulam Nabi Azad expressed uncertainty about entering the electoral arena.
"The party has announced but I will decide. No final decision as yet", he said.

Meanwhile, DPAP's spokesperson, Salman Nizami had clarified that "Our confirmed candidate for Anantnag-Rajouri seat is our chairman, Ghulam Nabi Azad sahib, filing nominations on either 18th or 19th April".

Taj Mohiuddin
Twitter handle of Taj Mohiuddin

DPAP declared Azad as its candidate on April 2

On April 2, DPAP declared that the former Chief Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad, would contest the Lok Sabha election from the Anantnag-Rajouri seat. Azad, who parted ways with the Congress party in 2022 after five decades of association, initiated his own political entity, DPAP.

"The DPAP core committee decided that Ghulam Nabi Azad will contest the Anantnag-Rajouri seat," stated DPAP leader Taj Mohiuddin.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Azad faced defeat in the Udhampur constituency against BJP leader Dr. Jitendra Singh.

The Anantnag constituency, now incorporating Rajouri and Poonch areas after delimitation, is scheduled for polling on May 7 in the third phase of Lok Sabha elections.

Earlier Omar challenged Azad to join electoral battlefield

Omar Abdullah, former Chief Minister and J&K National Conference (NC) vice-president challenged Azad to contest against him in the Lok Sabha elections.

Omar dubbed DPAP's election symbol, "bucket", as a "dustbin" and warned against Ghulam Nabi Azad's intentions.

"Despite Azad's claims of making DPAP a national party, it remains confined to one Lok Sabha seat in J&K," Omar remarked, accusing Azad of fielding candidates to split non-BJP votes in favour of the ruling party.

He questioned Azad's focus solely on the Udhampur-Doda constituency and criticized his absence in other significant constituencies like Srinagar, Baramulla, or Jammu.

Omar Abdullah accused Azad of aligning with the BJP and cautioned the public against his strategies, asserting that Azad lacked the courage to contest against their candidate, Mian Altaf Ahmed.