J-K: Rajya Sabha polls may throw up new political equations

  • Peerzada Ashiq, Hindustan Times, Srinagar
  • Updated: Jan 22, 2015 00:06 IST

The upcoming Rajya Sabha polls in Jammu and Kashmir are likely to throw up fresh political equations and flip the talks over the government formation between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the People's Democratic Party (PDP).

Returning officer, legislative assembly, M Ramzan, on Wednesday put all speculation about the deferment of the polls in the wake of the governor's rule to rest by issuing notice for the same.

According to the notice, the elected members of the J&K legislative assembly will choose four Rahya Sabha members on February 7 as per schedule. The deadline for the nomination papers has been set for January 28.

The poll bugle has started hectic deliberations between political parties to send their representatives to the Rajya Sabha.

The PDP, with 28 seats in the 87-member assembly, is likely to win one seat, while the BJP with is also set to bag one with 25 members.

However, sources said the PDP and the BJP will announce candidates only after reaching an understanding on the government formation, flipping the negotiations between the two to have a successful and less-frictional government for the state, where both failed to win the majority seats.

If the PDP-BJP join hands, they can even manage to win three seats. The two can retain all four seats, if the Peoples Conference's two members and five other independents lend support to their candidates. It is only when the NC, Congress and independents join hand that one of the two parties, the Congress or the NC, can win a seat. It remains to be seen if the NC, with no members in the Parliament, will push to retain a seat for itself or help Azad to sail through.

However, it is now up to new political equation between the National Conference (with 15 seats) and the Congress (12 seats) to retain their members for the Rajya Sabha.

The big name who will face the litmus tests is Congress' Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is also the leader of the opposition in the upper house of the Parliament.

Sources said the two parties, the NC and the Congress, are reaching out to independents (whose number is 7) to retain one seat each.

At present, the NC and the Congress shared two seats --- G N Ratanpuri and Muhammad Shafi from NC and Ghulam Nabi Azad and Prof Saif-u-Din Soz of Congress.

Both the parties are struggling to have their presence in the Parliament after they lost all six Lok Sabha seats, three each to BJP and PDP, earlier last year. The two parties have to unite to win at least one seat.

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