Going separate ways after the disastrous 2014 Lok Sabha polls where it drew blank, Congress party and the Jammu & Kashmir National Conference has decided to cobble up an alliance once again in the state. Their first test will be in the forthcoming by-polls for the two Lok Sabha seats of Srinagar and Anantnag.
The two had entered alliance in December 2008 forming government in the state. However, going solo in the assembly polls held late in 2014, the two parties suffered a major setback with Congress scoring 12 and JKNC getting 15.
In a bid to put up a “combined fight against the ruling PDP-BJP coalition” the coalition has decided to field JKNC president Farooq Abdullah from Srinagar constituency, while Congress state unit chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir will face the bypoll from Anantnag.
“For the past few days, both the parties – NC and Congress conducted internal exercises and came to the conclusion that if we really want to defeat the candidates of the present government in Srinagar and Anantnag Parliamentary constituencies, the best thing to do is to fight the elections jointly,” Omar Abdullah said.
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is also known to share good ties with Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi.
“We will try to put up a combined fight. All my colleagues from south Kashmir will work for Mir’s success. Similarly, Mir has assured me that Congress and its friends will make efforts to make Farooq successful by a huge majority,” the former chief minister said flanked by JKPCC president Ghulam Ahmad Mir and other leaders of the two parties.
The ruling PDP has fielded Mufti Tassaduq Hussain, brother of current Chief Minister mehbooba Mufti. Hussain has been cinematographer by profession.
The Anantnag seat was vacated by Mehbooba after taking the charge of J&K Chief Minister post the demise of her father Mufti Mohd Sayeed, while Srinagar constituency fell vacant after senior PDP leader Tariq Hamid Karra resigned last year in September in protest against alleged “brutalities” on Kashmir protesters.
Karra, who joined Congress afterwards, had won the 2014 election against Farooq Abdullah.
PDP has announced the candidature of Nazir Ahmad Khan from Srinagar. Khan had recently joined the PDP after quitting from Congress.
The elections will be held on April 9 (Srinagar) and April 12 (Anantnag) and the results will be declared on April 15. It is also reported that BJP may also field its own candidates for the by-polls.