National Conference, Congress to jointly contest Lok Sabha bypolls in Kashmir, J-KCongress chief to fight against Mehbooba’s brother
As per the seat sharing agreement between the two parties, National Conference will contest Srinagar Lok Sabha seat while Congress will put its candidate for Anantnag parliamentary seat.
SRINAGAR: The opposition National Conference and Congress Wednesday announced to jointly contest the bypolls to two parliamentary seats in Jammu and Kashmir with NC president Farooq Abdullah to contest from Srinagar Lok Sabha seat and State Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief Ghulam Ahmed Mir to fight from Anantnag parliamentary segment.
“NC and Congress have decided to contest the polls jointly in pursuit of common ideals and with an aim to confront those political forces who had wreaked havoc with the State and its political interests,” NC working president Omar Abdullah and PCC chief Ghulam Ahmed Mir announced in a joint press conference, here.
They said the two parties are contesting the bypolls to two parliamentary seats in Valley jointly to defeat the political forces whose sole focus remains to fragment this State and its people in order to derive political dividends out of such a situation.
Omar said the State has been pushed into a period of instability, uncertainty, misery and chaos and it hence merits that like-minded forces should fight together to ensure the State’s interests and rights are protected at all costs.
As per the seat sharing agreement between the two parties, NC will contest Srinagar Lok Sabha seat while Congress will put its candidate for Anantnag parliamentary seat.
Omar announced that NC president and former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah will contest from Srinagar Lok Sabha seat and Congress’s State president Ghulam Ahmed Mir would fight from Anantnag parliamentary seat.
Srinagar parliamentary seat in central Kashmir will go to bypolls on April 9 while Anantnag seat in South Kashmir would witness polling on April 12.
The Anantnag parliamentary seat had fallen vacant after Mehbooba Mufti took over as CM of the State on April 4, 2016 and resigned from the Lok Sabha seat. The Srinagar-Budgam LS seat fell vacant after Tariq Hamid Karra resigned as MP and from basic membership of PDP during unrest in the Valley last year to protest mishandling of situation by the Mehbooba government.
The ruling PDP has already announced candidates for the two seats.
The party has fielded Mehbooba’s brother Tassaduq Hussain Sayeed from Anantnag Lok Sabha seat and Nazir Ahmad Khan from Srinagar-Budgam constituency.
Contesting from Anantnag constituency, which is highly militancy-affected and was epicenter of over five month unrest in Valley last year, would be the first electoral test for 45-year-old Tassaduq, who is better known for his cinematography of Bollywood movies ‘Omkara’ and ‘Kaminey’.
Tassaduq ventured into politics on first death anniversary of his father Mufti Sayeed on January 7 this year.
Nazir Khan recently rejoined PDP. He had unsuccessfully contested 2014 Assembly polls against Omar Abdullah from Beerwah constituency on a Congress ticket.
The BJP, which is coalition partner of PDP, is also interested in contesting the parliamentary elections and has sought permission from party high command to put candidates in both the constituencies in the Valley.
Both the seats were won by PDP in last parliamentary elections but with anger among people, especially youth against the PDP-BJP government after last year’s unrest in the Valley, it would be a tough challenge for Mehbooba’s party to retain both the seats.