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Alliance with National Conference will be on different terms: J&K Congress

In the 2014 polls, which Congress and the NC contested jointly, Congress candidates lost from Jammu, Udhampur and Ladakh to BJP while the National Conference lost Anantnag, Baramulla and Srinagar to the PDP.

india Updated: Feb 25, 2019 17:10 IST
Mir Ehsan
Mir Ehsan
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
Alliance,National Conference,Congress
Congress president Rahul Gandhi (2nd R) with his National Conference counterpart Farooq Abdullah (2nd L) and CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury (left) and Loktantrik Janata Dal President Sharad Yadav (right) at an opposition rally in New Delhi. (PTI FILE PHOTO)

Asked to look for allies for the Lok Sabha elections, Jammu and Kashmir Congress president Ghulam Ahmad Mir has said that an alliance with Farooq Abdullah’s National Conference would be on “different terms”.

“I was called to Delhi along with other state presidents of the party and had a meeting with Congress president (Rahul Gandhi) who asked me to look for the possibility of alliance partners in J&K,” he said.

He said that though no formal talks have started yet, the possibility will be discussed after taking feedback from the ground level with the leaders of other parties.

“In 2014, we had contested Lok Sabha polls jointly and lost, but this time, the situation is quite different in the state,” he said. “If there is an alliance with the NC, it will be on different terms this time.”

Jammu and Kashmir has six Lok Sabha seats. In the 2014 polls, which Congress and the NC contested jointly, Congress candidates lost from Jammu, Udhampur and Ladakh to BJP while the National Conference lost Anantnag, Baramulla and Srinagar to the PDP.

In the bye-elections for Srinagar Lok Sabha seat, NC president Farooq Abdullah managed to wrest it from the PDP despite a low polling percentage. Congress did not field any candidate against Abdullah as a goodwill gesture.

Sources said that both Congress and NC want that anti-BJP votes, especially in Jammu and Ladakh, should not get divided between the Congress, NC and the PDP which will help BJP to repeat a victory, especially in Jammu and Ladakh divisions.

The decision to grant divisional status to Ladakh could see BJP reaping good dividends in Leh region of Ladakh division. Last time, the BJP had managed to win Ladakh seat by just mere 36 votes.

On the other hand, the NC has announced that its Mohammad Akbar Lone will be contesting elections from Baramulla Lok Sabha seat, while Srinagar MP and party president Farooq Abdullah would contest from the same seat.

The party hasn’t decided names of candidates for two Jammu seats, and Ladakh and Anantnag.

“NC is part of UPA and if Congress will make some sacrifices, it is going to help Congress on the national front,” said a senior NC leader who did not wish to be named.

Recently, former state chief secretary, B R Kundal joined the National Conference, and party president Farooq Abdullah had hinted that he could be the party candidate from Jammu.

Kundal had been member of legislative council and has also served as minister of state when Congress was running the coalition government with the PDP in 2008.

First Published: Feb 25, 2019 17:08 IST