Congress and National Conference have sealed alliance in Jammu and Kashmir for the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections. National Conference president Farooq Abdullah on Wednesday said Jammu and Udhampur will be contested by Congress. “I will contest from Srinagar and there will be a friendly contest between NC and Congress in Anantnag and Baramulla. We are also discussing the Ladakh seat,” he said.
Congress general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad said, alliance has been finalised in the national interest, to strengthen secular forces in Jammu and Kashmir as the state faces threat from Pakistan. Clarifying on the friendly contest thing Azad said, “friendly contest means that there will be no cut-throat contest between us on these two seats (Anantnag and Baramulla). If either Congress or NC wins, it's a win-win situation for both of us.”
NC parliamentary board had on Monday decided to field party president Farooq Abdullah from the Srinagar-Budgam constituency and senior leader and former Speaker of the state assembly Muhammad Akbar Lone from the Baramulla-Kupwara Lok Sabha constituency. The NC has not yet announced the candidates Jammu region and one in the Ladakh region of the state.
Earlier, there were speculations that the pre-poll alliance between NC-Congress have hit a dead-end after National Conference announced its candidate for the Anantnag Parliamentary constituency. Anantnag Lok Sabha seat has been a bone of contention between the NC and Congress.
National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah had set a precondition to contest all three seats in Kashmir for any alliance to take place. In exchange, NC was willing to support Congress in the two seats in Jammu and one in Ladakh. However, Congress had insisted on contesting from four seats, two from the Jammu region, one from Ladakh and from Anantnag.
On Tuesday, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti dismissed reports of an alliance with the Congress and said the party is preparing to contest all the six Lok Sabha seats in Jammu and Kashmir. "We are preparing to contest all the six seats," Mehbooba told reporters late Tuesday night. "We had no talks with Congress (on alliance). It is mere speculation. If they want to have an alliance with the National Conference, that is their internal matter," she said. Mehbooba Mufti will also chair a meeting on Wednesday here to finalise the party’s candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls in Jammu and Kashmir.