The National Conference (NC), which is in talks with the Congress for an alliance in Jammu and Kashmir for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, has finalised candidates for two of the three parlimentary seats in the Valley. Leaders of another regional party, the (PDP), have also begun exercise to select candidates for the six seats in the state—three in Kashmir valley, two in Jammu and one in Ladakh.
NC provincial president Nasir Aslam Wani said the party’s parliamentary board would meet shortly to announce candidates. “Formally, we have not named any candidates. We are in talks with the Congress and there is a possibility that may contest the elections jointly,’’ he said.
The two parties, which are part of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), had contested the 2014 Lok Sabha polls jointly but could not win a single seat in the state. Congress candidates lost Jammu, Udhampur and Ladakh to BJP while the National Conference candidates were defeated by PDP nominees in Anantnag, Baramulla and Srinagar.
This time, however, leaders of the two parties feel the situation in the state had changed and “the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kashmir and the BJP in Jammu have lost ground”.
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NC leaders said party president Farooq Abdullah could contest from Srinagar former minister Akbar Lone from Baramulla.
Abdullah had won the Srinagar seat in 2017 byelection in, having lost it in 2014 general polls.
Meanwhile, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti has started consultations with senior party leaders to finalise candidates. Party leaders said the PDP was unlikely forge an alliance and had already named Abdul Qayoom Wani as its candidate for the Baramulla seat in place of the sitting MP Muzuffar Beigh. Wani had recently quit government service and joined the PDP.
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A senior PDP leader said there was pressure Mehbooba Mufti to contest from south Kashmir as assembly elections had been delayed.
He said the party had shortlisted three names—Mehbooba Mufti, former minister Abdul Rehman Veri and former MP Mehboob Beigh—for south Kashmir’s Anantnag Lok Sabha seat. The party could field a former minister from Srinagar, he added.
J&K Pradesh Congress Committee has sent a panel of names to the party high command which will decide the party candidates from the state.
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Mar 14, 2019 11:47 IST