Tariq Hameed Karra, one of the founder members of the PDP who quit the party two months ago, is likely to join the Congress, said sources, adding that he was in talks with the Congress leadership and had also held meetings with senior leaders in Delhi.
They said the possibility of him contesting from the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat on a Congress ticket could not be ruled out. Karra had defeated National Conference president Farooq Abdullah from Srinagar in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Karra’s entry could be a shot in the arm for the Congress in the Kashmir Valley where it had over the years ceded political space to the NC and PDP. Once a close aide of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, he had quit the PDP in protest against what he called civilian killings in the Valley. His resignation had dealt a big blow to the PDP.
“He is in touch with us… The whole thing is being discussed at the moment. We will take a call soon,” a senior Congress leader told The Indian Express.
Sources said the Congress was also mulling the option of reaching out to the NC to put up a united fight in bypolls to the two Lok Sabha seats. While Karra resigned from Srinagar, the Anantnag seat fell vacant after Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti resigned following her election to the Assembly. “This option is also at the discussion stage within our party. The deliberation is on approaching the NC for putting up a joint candidate,” the leader said.
The Congress could not win a single seat J&K in the last Lok Sabha polls. While the BJP won Jammu, Ladakh and Udhampur seats, the PDP won the three Valley seats of Srinagar, Anantnag and Baramulla.