Sajjad Lone, Former Separatist With Pakistani Wife, Wins in Kashmir
SRINAGAR: Separatist-turned-mainstream politician Sajjad Lone has won from Handwara in north Kashmir in the state assembly elections, held over five phases.
Mr Lone, 47, contested for the first time from Handwara.
“I am thankful to people. This was a challenge for me. I’ve given everyone an answer… Our tenure, our MLAs will be a joint front, will work for development… Don’t want people to be afraid of MLAs,” Mr Lone said.
Mr Lone has revived the People’s Conference founded by his father Abdul Gani Lone, who was killed during an election rally in Srinagar in 2002. The party, which is contesting 12 seats in Kupwara and Handwara, is being seen as a potential ally of the BJP.
The youngest son of Abdul Ghani Lone, Sajjad Lone first experimented with democracy by fielding proxy candidates in the 2008 state polls .He contested as an independent candidate from Baramulla in the 2009 Lok Sabha election but was defeated by a National Conference candidate.
Sajjad Lone is married to a Pakistani, Asma Khan Lone, the daughter of key separatist leader Amanullah Khan, who founded the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front.Last month, the People’s Conference leader met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and described him as his “older brother.”
“The PM is a great human being. I was pleasantly surprised with his down-to-earth personality, his vision about bringing in investments into the state,” Mr Lone said, adding, “I could not make out whether I am talking to the PM or my older brother.”
Sajjad Lone’s older brother Bilal is an executive member in the moderate faction of separatist Hurriyat Conference.