The National Conference and Congress on Wednesday decided to jointly contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha bypolls in Jammu and Kashmir, in a bid to put up a “combined fight against the ruling PDP-BJP coalition.” The main opposition parties of the state said National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah will contest from Srinagar constituency, while JKPCC chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir will face the bypoll from Anantnag.
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“For the past few days, both the parties – NC and Congress – conducted internal exercises and came to the conclusion that if we really want to defeat the candidates of the present government in Srinagar and Anantnag Parliamentary constituencies, the best thing to do is to fight the elections jointly. So we have decided that from Srinagar constituency, we will put up an NC candidate and from Anantnag, a Congress candidate,” National Conference working president Omar Abdullah told reporters at Srinagar.
He was flanked by Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) president Ghulam Ahmad Mir and other NC and Congress leaders.
“We will try to put up a combined fight. All my colleagues from south Kashmir will work for Mir’s success. Similarly, Mir has assured me that Congress and its friends will make efforts to make Farooq successful by a huge majority,” the former chief minister said.
The ruling PDP has fielded Mufti Tassaduq Hussain, cinematographer-turned-politician son of PDP founder late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, from Anantnag seat. The seat was vacated by Hussain’s sister and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. The party also announced that Nazir Ahmad Khan, who recently joined the PDP from Congress, would fight the by-polls from the prestigious Srinagar Lok Sabha seat.
While Srinagar constituency will go to polls on April 9, polling in Anantnag seat will be held on April 12.
Anantnag seat fell vacant in June last after Mehbooba won the assembly bypolls, as required by law, to continue as the Chief Minister. The Srinagar Lok Sabha seat was vacated by former PDP leader Tariq Hamid Karra, who had resigned last year in September in protest against alleged “brutalities” on Kashmir protesters.
Karra, who had won the election against Farooq, joined Congress afterwards.