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Jammu and Kashmir: National Conference and Congress announce alliance, PDP to go solo

NC and Congress had entered into an alliance in 2014 too but had failed to secure any seat.

After several rounds of discussions, the National Conference and Congress party successfully forged an alliance in Jammu and Kashmir for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Both parties had also stitched an alliance in 2014 General elections but had drawn a blank, as BJP had grabbed two seats from Jammu and one from Ladkah and PDP had grabbed all three seats from Kashmir.

“The alliance has been finalised in the national interest and will strengthen the secular forces in J&K as the state faces threat from Pakistan,” Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said during the announcement of the alliance. He also added that alliance will prevent the division of “secular” votes and BJP will not benefit and this decision is taken in national interest.

Explaining the alliance, NC chief Farooq Abdullah said that Congress will get to contest two seats of Udhampur and Jammu, and he himself will be contesting from Srinagar. Azad said that all Congress leaders will campaign for Abdullah from the seat.

However, as per announcement, there will be a “friendly contest” on seats of Anantnag and Baramulla, where both parties will field candidates, but will not indulge in the fierce electoral battle. Abdullah added that both parties are still holding discussions on the Ladakh seat.

“Friendly contest means that there will be no cut-throat contest between us on these two seats (Anantnag and Baramulla). If either Congress or NC wins, it’s a win-win situation for both of us” Azad was quoted. He also added that alliance will give strength to secular forces of the state as it faces threats from Pakistan.

There were early speculations that Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP is in talks with Congress for an alliance, However, rubbishing such speculation Mufti had made it clear that it will contest on all the six seats of the state by itself.

The Lok Sabha battle in Jammu and Kashmir will witness triangular contest, as BJP, Congress-NC, and PDP will enter the electoral arena. The state will go to polls in five phases: April 11,18,23,29 and May 6.

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