Seat-sharing for Lok Sabha polls: Rahul trying to resolve NC, PDP tussle, says J&K Congress secretary - Hindustan Times
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Seat-sharing for Lok Sabha polls: Rahul trying to resolve NC, PDP tussle, says J&K Congress secretary

ByMir Ehsan, Srinagar
Mar 10, 2024 06:50 AM IST

After back-to-back press conferences by NC vice-president Omar Abdullah and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, the future of INDIA bloc and the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) in J&K hangs in balance

As the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) entered into a war of words over the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi has stepped in to resolve differences among the embers of INDIA bloc in J&K, Congress leaders said.

Rahul Gandhi (HT File)
Rahul Gandhi (HT File)

Alongside the Congress, the NC and the PDP are part of India bloc. After back-to-back press conferences by NC vice-president Omar Abdullah and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, the future of INDIA bloc and the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) in J&K hangs in balance.

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Congress leaders said that Rahul, who shares a good relationship with Omar, has stepped in to resolve the matter.

Congress general secretary Mir Iqbal said that Rahul was making efforts to save the alliance.

“He (Rahul Gandhi) is trying to resolve the issues between the NC and the PDP. We are hopeful that the issue will be resolved and all partners of INDIA bloc will fight together,” he added.

On Friday, fissures in the PAGD were laid bare Mehbooba accusing the NC of reducing the alliance to a “joke”. Earlier, Omar had reiterated that the NC would contest on all three seats, Srinagar, Anantnag and Baramulla, in the Kashmir region.

The statement came amid disagreement over the seat sharing-arrangement for upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Addressing a press conference at the party office in Srinagar, Mehbooba said the NC’s decision was “disappointing”

“Omar (Abdullah) has himself said that the PDP is out of the alliance. You can see who has broken the alliance. We did not. This was a unique alliance. It is disappointing to see it shattered. They have reduced PAGD to a joke,” Mehbooba said.

“The PDP emerged third in south Kashmir’s Anantnag Lok Sabha seat in the last election. It couldn’t even win the seat when its leaders hadn’t quit the party. Now, that party isn’t strong, so how can they lay claim to the seat?” Omar had said. He, however, said the NC can leave seat for Congress If Rahul, Priyanka Gandhi or Sonia Gandhi contest from Anantnag parliamentary seat.

In light of Omar’s comments, Mehbooba had expressed disappointment and said that NC chief Farooq Abdulllah would confer with the PDP leadership even on the small issues in the PAGD.

“I am disappointed becauseFarooq used to discuss every small issue in the PAGD with us. Today, they took such a decision, claiming the PDP was nowhere in the alliance. Had Farooq asked us to leave seats, for the sake of unity, we would have sacrificed them,” she said.

Senior vice-president of the Awami National Party, another partner of PAGD, Muzzaffar Shah urged leaders of the NC and the PDP to stop blaming each other. “Our aim should be to win all six seats of J&K and Ladakh and that can be done when the INDIA bloc and the PAGD stand united,” he said.

The BJP, Apni Party and Peoples Conference mocked the NC and the PDP. Peoples Conference quit the PAGD alliance in 2020.

“Very humbly may I state that I stand vindicated,” PC chairperson Sajjad Lone wrote on X.

Former Srinagar mayor and senior Apni Party leader Junaid Azim Mattu termed it a mockery.

“PAGD was never an electoral alliance? Really?? Didn’t PAGD issue lists of consensus candidates for DDC elections and contest DDC elections as an alliance? Or is that a figment of our imagination? What absolute mockery! This is beyond embarrassing!,” he shared on the micro-blogging platform.

BJP state spokesperson Altaf Thakur said that they had predicted the fall of PAGD long ago and it has happened now.

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