iconimg Thursday, July 30, 2015

Toufiq Rashid, Hindustan Times
Srinagar, March 08, 2014
The ruling National Conference (NC) and the Congress in Jammu and Kashmir have forged an electoral alliance for the Lok Sabha polls. A formal announcement is likely to be made on Saturday. While the NC will be contesting from all the three seats in the valley, the Congress will take on the BJP in the two seats in Jammu and one in Ladakh.

“Yes, we have formed a pre-poll alliance,” state Congress chief Saifuddin Soz told HT, adding that the decision was taken in a meeting held by the high command in Delhi.

The meeting, headed by Sonia Gandhi, was attended by Union ministers Ambika Soni, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ahmad Patel and M L Fotedar, among others.

While the NC has repeated Farooq Abdullah from Srinagar, Mehboob Beg from Anantnag and Sharief Din Shariq from Baramulla, the Congress is likely to repeat Madan Lal Sharma from Jammu and Chowdhary Lal Singh from Udhampur.

Also, a Congress candidate will contest from the Ladakh Lok Sabha seat with the support of the NC. That will split the six Lok Sabha seats from the state equally between the two alliance partners.

While National conference wanted an alliance due to the inroads made by the PDP and the BJP in the Valley and in Jammu, respectively, a certain section of the Congress leaders wanted to contest from the Valley as well.

“We should have gotten at least one seat in the Valley, the Jammu region seats seem difficult as the BJP is very strong there,’’ one of the Congress leaders said on condition of anonymity. Sources said state Congress leaders wanted to contest from two Jammu seats and from Baramulla in the valley.

bjd ties up with jmm

Though Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik had refused tie-up with Left parties for 2014 polls, he has entered into a seat sharing agreement with a relatively smaller party, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM).

Patnaik announced the arrangement on Friday after meeting JMM’s Odisha president Sudam Marandi.

JMM has a presence in two tribal districts of Odisha, Mayurbhanj and Sundergarh, which together have 16 assembly and two Lok Sabha seats.

“The alliance with the Biju Janata Dal will help us ushering in development in both the backward districts,” Marandi said.

BJD vice president and panchayati raj minister Kalpataru Das said both the parties would be working out seat adjustment in few constituencies of both the districts.