The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ansari is new Hurriyat chief

Srinagar, July 12: Senior Shia leader Maulvi Abbas Ansari was unanimously elected the chairman of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference today.

The Hurriyat declared Ansari the new chairman immediately after Abdul Gani Bhat announced his decision to step down.

“Maulvi Abbas Ansari has been unanimously elected the new chairman of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, the elections for which were held at the party headquarters here today,” Bhat told mediapersons.

Six out of the seven executive committee members who form the electoral college for the chairman’s election attended today’s meeting at the party’s Rajbagh headquarters.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani, leader of the hardline Jamaat-e-Islami, abstained from the meeting. Of late, Geelani has been pressing for the expulsion of the People’s Conference from the Hurriyat, alleging that the party had fielded proxy candidates during last year’s Assembly elections in Kashmir.

The new chairman of the Hurriyat said his first priority would be to unite all Hurriyat constituents. “My first priority will be to unite all constituents of the Hurriyat. The general council and the executive are meeting in the next few days,” Ansari told newsmen.

“We will take the ongoing movement to its logical conclusion,” he added.

Bhat said the controversy within the Hurriyat would be overcome without allowing the conglomerate to weaken. “The togetherness of the Hurriyat is an asset for us. The Hurriyat is determined to swim together and, if need be, we will also sink together,” the outgoing chairman said.

Among others, today’s meeting was attended by Maulvi Omar Farooq of the Awami Action Committee, Ghulam Rasool Eidi of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, Bilal Lone of the People’s Conference, Maulvi Abbas Ansari of the Itihadul Muslemeen and Bashir Ahmed Tota of the People’s League.

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