NEW DELHI: In a major jolt to Omar Abdullah led National Conference in Jammu and Kashmir, its South Kashmir face and veteran leader Dr Mehboob Beg snapped ties with party and offered unconditional support to rival PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on the eve of the Assembly elections.

Beg,63, a former NC parliamentarian announced that he will not contest the polls on the NC tickets but will instead campaign for PDP patron and Anantnag candidate Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.

Addressing party workers at his south Kashmir home, Beg said “, “I have decided not to contest the upcoming Assembly elections on NC ticket. Though I am indecisive about joining any other political party, I will unconditionally support Mufti Mohammad Sayeed”.

Beg’s resignation came a few days after two senior NC leaders—Sheikh Ghulam Rasool and Ajat Shatru—quit the party by joining the PDP and the Bhartiya Janata Party respectively.

Hailing from Sarnal village in South Kashmir’s Anantnag, Beg is the son of Mirza Mohammad Afzal Beg, the state’s first deputy chief minister and close aide of National Conference founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah.

According to Dr Mehboob Beg, PDP is the only power to counter growing RSS and BJP in the state and will support him in this mission.

“I don’t see any difference between BJP and RSS. But Mufti Sahab is the only person who has the guts to counter their designs in the state. He is a man of vision and principles. So I have decided to launch door-to-door campaign for him during upcoming polls without setting any conditions.”

Accusing National Conference of selective development and ignoring South Kashmir, Beg said that they never consulted him on any party matters.

“Despite being a senior leader in the party, they never consulted me on anything, even didn’t seek my opinion before announcing my candidature” Beg alleged

He further accused NC of ignoring south Kashmir and said “I had requested CM Omar Sahib to address the sense of neglect the people of South Kashmir and Anantnag constituency are feeling. But all my requests have been turned down”.

Reacting to the resignation of Senior NC leader Mehboob Beg, Chief Minister Abdullah said he was anticipating the decision.

“There can be no denying that Beg’s departure is something NC could have done without but it has been on the cards for a couple of weeks,” Abdullah tweeted.

He added that “If the PDP really wants to know what Beg thinks of them just pull out the recordings of his campaign speeches from the last LS polls.”

Meanwhile coming down heavily on Dr Mehboob Beg, NC’s provincial president Nasir Aslam Wani said at a hurriedly convened Press conference in Srinagar,“ Beg is habitual of changing colors like a chameleon”

“Beg, during his election campaign in the parliament polls had left no stone unturned to criticize the PDP. He even held Mufti responsible for Bijbehara and other massacres. It is surprising that today he is praising them (PDP and Mufti)," Wani added.

Refuting the allegation of Beg that NC ignored South Kashmir, he said: “Beg remained MLA for six years and MP for the same term. In case he feels that no development has taken place there, it is his fault.”

Pertinent to mention that Beg has represented Anantnag twice in 1983 and 2002, and also served as a cabinet minister; in 2008, he lost to Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. In 2009 He won The South Kashmir LS seat by defeating PDP’s Peer Mohammad Hussain. Earlier this year, he lost the Anantnag Parliamentary seat to PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti by 40,000 votes.