Pre-Poll alliance talks

Cong tells NC it wants equal share in seats

JAMMU: In a high-level meeting, the Congress has reportedly told the National Conference that it wants an equal share in the seats for a pre-poll alliance in the forthcoming parliamentary elections.

Amit Khajuria
Tribune News Service
Jammu, March 15

In a high-level meeting, the Congress has reportedly told the National Conference that it wants an equal share in the seats for a pre-poll alliance in the forthcoming parliamentary elections. It is also unlikely to leave the Jammu-Poonch Lok Sabha seat for the NC.

Reports suggested that the NC had offered the Congress only two parliamentary seats, keeping four for itself in case of an alliance for the elections.

Though the Congress leadership has been demanding 50 per cent share of the total six seats like the 2014 alliance formula, the NC is adamant on leaving only two parliamentary constituencies for its erstwhile coalition partner.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the NC and Congress had shared three seats each. The Congress had contested on two seats of the Jammu division and the lone constituency of Ladakh. The NC had contested all three parliamentary seats of the Valley.

This time, the NC has categorically refused to give the Jammu-Poonch seat to the Congress, as it has already cleared the name of former Chief Secretary BR Kundal for the constituency.

The Congress is yet to give its consent for the alliance, but party leaders do not want to leave the Jammu seat for the NC.

The NC top brass, including party president Farooq Abdullah, vice-president Omar Abdullah and provincial president Devender Singh Rana, met the Congress team, including former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, AICC general secretary Ambika Soni, on Wednesday.

“The NC has made it clear to the Congress that it can offer only two seats in case of an alliance,” sources said, adding that the party would go it alone in the Assembly elections.

The NC has already cleared the name of Farooq Abdullah for Srinagar and Akbar Lone for Baramulla besides Kundal for Jammu-Poonch. However, it is yet to finalise a candidate for the Anantnag seat. The NC is offering only Kathua-Udhampur and Ladakh seats to the Congress.

Sources said the NC wanted the Congress to field Azad from the Kathua-Udhampur seat. However, the Congress wants to utilise the services of Azad at the national-level.

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