With the BJP eyeing Srinagar’s Habba Kadal constituency, with significant minority votes and witness to separatists’ boycott, the party is holding talks with the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) to field a joint candidate.
The BJP on Monday decided to field candidates from all 87 seats in Jammu and Kashmir, including 46 seats of the Muslim-majority valley. LJP is holding talks with the BJP to field a joint candidate to avoid a split in the minority votes which would probably help the National Conference or the Peoples Democratic Party.
“(Ram Vilas) Paswan ji (LJP chief) is for a joint candidate. He is talking to the BJP. We are in a coalition at the Centre. We can have a joint candidate here too,” said LJP’s Sanjay Saraf, a Kashmiri Pandit, who is contesting from the Habba Kadal constituency.
The constituency remains key for the BJP to reach the magical number of 44. Saraf, however, was quick to add: “The BJP has not committed anything so far”.
Saraf, who hit the headlines earlier this year for being the BJP emissary to hold parleys with hardline Hurryat chairman Syed Ali Geelani, is gaining ground due to a number of relief works during the recent floods and constant engagement with the local Muslims, migrant and non-migrant Kashmir Pandits.
He said his party banks on development plank.
The BJP, in the past, also met separatist-turned-mainstream politician Sajad Lone, who heads the Peoples Conference.