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HindustanTimes Wed,22 Oct 2014

Cong parts ways with NC, to fight J-K polls alone

Tarun Upadhyay , Hindustan Times  Jammu, July 20, 2014
First Published: 13:40 IST(20/7/2014) | Last Updated: 11:31 IST(21/7/2014)

The Congress and National Conference (NC) on Sunday ended their bitter-sweet partnership in an acrimonious manner, both claiming the decision to contest the assembly elections alone as its own.

Apart from Jammu and Kashmir, assembly polls are also due in Haryana, Maharashtra and Jharkhand – besides by-polls in Bihar -- this year or early next year.

The elections are crucial for non-BJP parties which are still smarting from the drubbing they received in the recent Lok Sabha polls at the hands of the BJP.

The Congress and NC were routed by the opposition PDP and BJP on all six seats in the recent Lok Sabha polls they had fought jointly in the state.

The Congress decision was announced by Ambika Soni, AICC general secretary and in-charge of J&K, at a press conference in Jammu.

"After extensive talks with Congress leaders and workers at all levels, the party has come to the conclusion that we are going to fight the forthcoming assembly elections on our own strength", she said.

She was accompanied by other Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Saifuddin Soz.

Minutes later, chief minister Omar Abdullah – also the NC working president  -- took to social media to announce that he had informed Congress president Sonia Gandhi 10 days ago that there will be no pre-poll alliance in the state.

 "I explained the reasons but also told her (Sonia Gandhi) I wouldn't be making a public announcement…For it to be spun now as a Cong decision is wrong and a complete distortion of facts, not surprising but incorrect nonetheless," he said on Twitter.

The two parties had come together after the hung verdict in the 2008 assembly elections.

Although the coalition government almost completed its term, the sailing had not been smooth as second-rung leaders from both parties have indulged in public spats over many issues.

JD-U, RJD 'united'
In Bihar, the ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) hinted at an alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) for assembly bypolls in 10 seats of Bihar next month.

"It is true that talks about an alliance between JD(U) and RJD have been generating a buzz of late, but it has to be decided at the leadership level of the two parties and not through the media or discussion in public," state unit JD(U) president Bashistha Narayan Singh said.

Chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, however, said he will not say on his own about the likelihood of an alliance between RJD and JD(U) as the decision in this regard has to be taken by the party leadership.

The two parties had parted ways in 1994.

By-elections to all the seats will be held on August 21.  The seats fell vacant after the election of the legislators to the Lok Sabha.

Six of the seats were held by the BJP, three by the RJD and one by JD-U.

In Haryana, the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), however, decided against entering into a pre-poll alliance with BJP or any other party for the assembly polls due later this year.

Dushyant Chautala, 26, the youngest MP and a leader of INLD said, "We are ready to fight alone. The party leadership will decide if there is any probability of a post-poll alliance."

The MP from Hisar also said the BJP won't be able to repeat its Lok Sabha election performance as it was facing a leadership crisis in Haryana.

(With inputs from agencies)


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