Anantnag Parliamentary seat has a Non-State subject candidate​ in the ​fray

For the first time in the electoral history of Jammu and Kashmir, a non-state subject is contesting Lok Sabha elections from the Anantnag parliamentary constituency.

Shams Khwaja of Noida in Uttar Pradesh, a lawyer by profession is among the eighteen candidates whose nomination papers were accepted by the district election officer of Anantnag.

Khwaja’s nominations as an independent candidate was contested by the opposition parties on the ground that his name was not in the electoral roles of the constituency.

However, in his defense Khwaja argued that the constitutional requirement was that any contestant for the Lok Sabha polls should figure as a voter in any of the constituencies of the country.

Khawaj’s nomination papers were kept pending by the returning officer, however after deliberations with legal experts his form was finally accepted.
“Of the twenty candidates only two nominations were rejected after scrutiny, but Khwaja is not among them,” an official said.

He said that with no withdrawal of nomination by the close of deadline eighteen candidates are in the fray for the Anantnag seat.
“All 18 candidates whose nominations were cleared after the scrutiny have opted to stay in the contest,” said an official.

Khwaja, has promised to protect the special status of the J&K.
“If elected to Lok Sabha, I will fight for the disinformation campaign in the country against Article 370 and 35A that grants special status to JK,” Khwaja told reporters after filing his nomination papers.

Khwaja also says demanding plebiscite was a right of the people of Kashmir.
The candidates in the fray are Hassnain Masoodi of Jammu Kashmir NC, Mehbooba Mufti of PDP, GA Mir of Congress, Sofi Yousuf of BJP, Ghulam Ahmad, , Chaudhary Zaffar Ali of People’s Conference, Nisar Ahmad Wani of JK National Panthers Party, Sanjay Kumar Dhar of Manav Adhikar Party, Surinder Singh of Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia) and Ridwana Sanam ; Imtiyaz Ahmad Rather, Riyaz Ahmad Bhat, Zubair Masoodi, Shamas Khwaja ( non-state subject), Ali Mohammad Wani, Gh Mohammad Wani, Kyasir Ahmed Shiekh, Manzoor Ahmed Khan, Mirza Sajad Hussain Beigh, all independents.

In a first, polling for the Anantnag seat will be held in three phases due to prevailing security situation in southern Kashmir valley.
In Anantnag district, the polling will be held on April 23, in Kulgam district on April 29 and finally in Pulwama and Shopian districts on May 6.