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Another son rises in Kashmir

Friday, 4 April 2014 - 7:35am IST | Place: Udhampur | Agency: dna

Another son rises in Jammu and Kashmir after London-educated Saddam Nabi Azad made a rare appearance during the campaign trail of his father Ghulam Nabi Azad, setting tongues wagging about his political ambitions in the restive state.

The 30 something businessman was seen accompanying Union health minister during his road show in the border district of Kathua on Thursday. Donning traditional Dogra saffron turban, Saddam stood behind his father in the open jeep and zealously waved to the crowds during the road show.

It is for the first time that Saddam has made a public appearance in Jammu and Kashmir. With senior Congress leaders in tow, Saddam was the show-stopper of the campaigning on Thursday. Though he did not address or speak to the gathering, his presence was enough to let the rumor mills talk about his political future in the state.

Congress leaders, however, were quick to say that not much should be read into it and Saddam's presence was just a son helping his father out and nothing else.

"It (Saddam joining campaign trail) is not an indication of anything. Everybody is interested in his (Azad) campaigning. He (Saddam) too is campaigning. Everybody is seeing what his father is doing. It is love and affection," Abdul Gani Vakil, senior vice-president of J&K Pradesh Congress Committee and close aide of Azad, told dna.

Saddam has 'arrived' on the political horizon at a time when senior J&K politicians have passed the baton to their kins. From Omar Abdullah to Mehbooba Mufti to Salman Soz, Jammu and Kashmir has seen many sons and daughters rising on the political scene.

Saddam is the eldest of the two children of Azad; his daughter Sofiya Nabi Azad has studied journalism. Azad's wife Shameem is known as Nightingale of Kashmir who has sung in almost 10 Indian languages.
"The whole family has all along been working for the Congress. When he (Azad) contested from Maharashtra he was accompanied by his family also," said Vakil.

Azad is contesting the Lok Sabha seat from his home state for the first time in his political career. A resident of Bhaderwah tehsil, Azad has filed his nomination from Udhampur constituency which goes to polls on April 17. Azad is pitted against the state BJP spokesman Jitendra Singh, PDP leader Arshad Malik and National Panthers Party patron Bhim Singh besides others.

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