Agha Syed Ruhullah Mehdi Files Nomination for Srinagar Lok Sabha Seat, Calls August 5, 2019 "Black Day"

Shia leader Agha Syed Ruhullah Mehdi files nomination for Srinagar LS seat, criticizes Article 370 abrogation, vows to raise Kashmiris' voice in Parliament if elected.

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Agha Syed Ruhullah Mehdi Files Nomination for Srinagar Lok Sabha Seat, Calls August 5, 2019 "Black Day"

Agha Syed Ruhullah Mehdi Files Nomination for Srinagar Lok Sabha Seat, Calls August 5, 2019 "Black Day"

Agha Syed Ruhullah Mehdi, the National Conference (NC) candidate for the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency, filed his nomination papers on Thursday, the final day for submitting nominations for the 2024 General Elections. Mehdi, an influential Shia leader and strong critic of the Centre's decision to abrogate Article 370, was accompanied by senior NC leaders Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, as well as Jammu and Kashmir Congress president Vikar Rasool.

During the nomination filing rally, Mehdi referred to August 5, 2019, as "a black day for those who supported the Instrument of Accession" in Jammu and Kashmir. He criticized the government's move to downgrade the erstwhile state into two Union Territories and revoke its statehood, saying it "snatched our narrative and argument from us." Mehdi stated that the decision was forced upon the people of Jammu and Kashmir without their consent, taking away their democracy and identity.

The NC staged a major show of strength, with hundreds of supporters attending the rally and chanting slogans in support of the party. Dr. Farooq Abdullah addressed the crowd, calling for changes in the Election Commission and judiciary, and praying for the victory of the INDIA alliance to save "Ambedkar's Constitution." The party also fielded a covering candidate, Salman Sagar, to avoid a situation where the BJP candidate wins unopposed.

Why this matters: The Srinagar Lok Sabha seat is a key battleground in the upcoming elections, with the NC and other opposition parties seeking to challenge the BJP's dominance in the region. The abrogation of Article 370 and the subsequent changes in Jammu and Kashmir's status remain contentious issues that are likely to shape the political discourse in the state.

A total of 39 candidates have filed their nominations for the Srinagar constituency. The scrutiny of nomination papers is scheduled for April 26, and candidates have the option to withdraw their candidature by April 29. Voting in the constituency will take place on May 13, during the fourth phase of the Lok Sabha elections.

Mehdi, who declared an income of Rs 5.9 lakh in the last year and assets worth around Rs 3 crore, expressed hope that the elections would provide an opportunity for people to express the sentiments they have not been able to voice in the last four years. If elected, he pledged to raise the voices of the people of Jammu and Kashmir in the Parliament.

Key Takeaways

  • Agha Syed Ruhullah Mehdi, NC candidate, filed nomination for Srinagar LS seat.
  • Mehdi criticized abrogation of Article 370, saying it snatched Kashmiris' narrative.
  • NC staged a show of strength, called for changes in EC and judiciary.
  • Srinagar LS seat is a key battleground, with 39 candidates filing nominations.
  • Mehdi expressed hope that elections will give people a chance to voice sentiments.