After IAS topper Shah Faesal, more J&K officials eye politics switch

Around a dozen government, police, and judicial officers in Jammu & Kashmir are seeking (or considering) voluntary retirement to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha or assembly elections.

On Wednesday, Shah Faesal , who topped the Indian Administrative Services exam in 2010, resigned from the service, and is expected to join a political party and contest the elections.

On Friday, Principal and Sessions Judge, Anantnag, Syed Towqeer wrote to the Registrar General of the Jammu & Kashmir High Court seeking voluntary retirement. Although he has cited personal reasons, HT learns that he may contest the assembly elections from South Kashmir’s Kokernag assembly seat and will be joining the National Conference in coming days.

“I have still service up to 2024 but I want to leave due to personnel reasons. Once free I can do anything which suits me,” Touqeer said.

National Conference provisional president Nasir Aslam Wani said that party will welcome all people from different walks of life who have clean image to join them. “ We will be glad to have them. Not only bureaucrats, doctors members of civil society should join politics and contribute to their society,” he said.

Another senior judge who hails from north Kashmir and is currently living in Srinagar is also contemplating a career in politics and may contest from Baramulla constituency on a National Conference ticket, a National Conference local leader said.

The judge is yet to get an assurance from top NC leadership on whether he will be the party’s candidate from Baramulla.

A senior NC leader confirmed on condition of anonymity that the party is looking for a candidate who can win the Baramulla assembly seat for the party. The last time the NC won Baramulla was in 1996.

Last month, former SSP Srinagar Riyaz Bedar who hails from north Kashmir’s Pattan but is settled in Srinagar joined the National Conference. Bedar will be contesting elections from Pattan against former minister and senior Peoples Conference leader Imran Reza Ansari.

There has also been speculation that another bureaucrat Asghar Ali has sought retirement as he too wants to enter politics. “I have not sought voluntary retirement yet. There are rumors about many bureaucrats. I will talk to you at an appropriate time,’’ Ali said.

Last month former Inspector General of Police (Crime) Raja Ajaz Ali who joined the PDP ahead of the 2014 elections and contested assembly polls from Uri resigned from the party and joined the Peoples Conference of Sajjad Lone. He is likely to contest assembly polls from Uri assembly constituency or could be the Lok Sabha candidate of the party from Baramulla. Raja Ajaz Ali stood second in the assembly elections and secured more than 18,000 votes. Last week, Bashir Ahmad Ronyal and Mehboob Iqbal, both former senior bureaucrats who joined the PDP before the 2014 polls and contested elections from Banihal and Baderwah respectively, resigned from the party. While Ronyal will be contesting elections as an independent candidate from Banihal, Iqbal who joined National Conference last week could be a candidate from Baderwah.

Shah Faesal who resigned on Wednesday said that he wouldn’t join any political party now, but would contest the upcoming elections in the state. There has been speculation that that he will be joining the NC and contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections on a party ticket from Baramulla . His entry into politics has been welcomed by the NC, and the PDP. The PDP youth president, Waheed ur Rehman Parra said that many people, especially young people, will be joining the party in coming weeks. A close confidant of Sajjad Lone also confirmed on condition of anonymity that some bureaucrats could join the Peoples Conference.

First Published: Jan 13, 2019 07:02 IST

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