SRINAGAR:Despite the deadlock in the talks on government formation in Jammu and Kashmir, the BJP and the PDP will contest the Legislative Council (LC) elections jointly with the saffron party announcing candidates in five seats, while leaving out the remaining six to its ‘alliance partner’.
“The BJP’s Central Election Committee (CEC) has decided the five names for the coming biennial elections to J&K Legislative Council,” said party general secretary and CEC secretary J P Nadda. Eleven LC seats -- five in Jammu, four in Kashmir and one each in Ladakh and Kargil -- will go to the polls on March 2.
The biennial polls were necessitated as eight members are retiring while three others were elected to the state Assembly in the elections held in November-December.
The BJP has nominated Tsering Dorjung for Leh-Ladakh seat, Sofi Yousuf for a seat from Kashmir province and Vibodh Gupta, Ramesh Arora and Charanjit Singh Khalsa for three out of the five seats from Jammu province. Of the six LC seats, which had been left open to the PDP -- one is from Kargil, three are from Valley and two are from Jammu region.
The PDP has not announced its candidates yet, but sources said the party had finalised its six candidates. “The elections to the Rajya Sabha or LC and the government formation in the state are two different things,” PDP chief spokesperson Naeem Akhtar said.
The BJP-PDP combine is expected to win nine to 10 seats in the LC polls. The two parties had contested the February 7 elections to the four Rajya Sabha seats in the state jointly and won three.
The PDP has 28 seats and the BJP has 25 seats in the 87-member J&K Assembly.
Ever since the declaration of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly poll results on December 23, the two sides have been holding talks to form a coalition government in the state. However, the talks ran into rough weather over contentious issues like Article 370, revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), talks with separatists and settlement of Refugees in the state.