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regular-article-logo Saturday, 18 May 2024

National Conference panics over Mian Altaf’s back-and-forth on polls  

Altaf said he had taken ill recently and doctors had initially suggested he was suffering from jaundice, he said he was advised to take rest for weeks

Muzaffar Raina Srinagar Published 14.04.24, 05:48 AM
Mian Altaf. 

Mian Altaf.  File picture

The National Conference on Saturday went through a brief phase of anxiety after reports emerged that the Anantnag-Rajouri parliamentary seat candidate, Mian Altaf, may not be able to campaign or participate in the contest because of his poor health.

Soon after the reports emerged, party vice-president Omar Abdullah rushed to Altaf’s residence in Kangan to "inquire about his health". After the two met, Altaf released a video in the evening where he said he would contest but admitted that he had confided in some visitors that he might not contest or campaign because of health issues.

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Altaf said he had taken ill recently and doctors had initially suggested he was suffering from jaundice. He said he was advised to take rest for weeks. "I told the people who came to meet me that it would be difficult for me to campaign or contest,” he said.

Altaf said the doctors told him he had a viral.

"After treatment, I am perfectly fine. If my ailment had persisted, I would have told them (party) to look for an alternative. My doctors said I was improving but suggested two more days of rest,” he said.

The NC leader said Omar’s visit to his residence was to inquire about his health and not for some political reasons.

"I told him that he should not have caused himself inconvenience. Anyways he got an opportunity to visit Baba Nagri,” he said, adding that there is no need to take it seriously or amplify it. "Nor do I take it (seriously). It was a small issue but got amplified,” he said.

It is unclear why Omar left his party engagements midway to rush to Altaf’s residence if it was just about his health. The NC leader lives in Baba Nagri village of Kangan in Ganderbal district, some 45km from Srinagar.

Party sources said Omar had panicked after reading reports on Altaf backing out and he drove to his residence soon after concluding his interactions with reporters in Srinagar where he faced questions about his candidacy.

The NC had a bitter parting with INDIA partner Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the Anantnag-Rajouri seat. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti was keen to contest from the seat as an INDIA candidate but the Congress sided with the NC and announced its support for the party’s three Valley seats. It prompted the PDP to field its own candidates for the seats.

Earlier, Omar had said there was no word on Altaf’s decision not to contest. "It is obvious if he had taken any such decision he would have informed us. Now, that you have raised the issue, we will find out about it,” the former chief minister had told reporters.

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