National Conference and Congress Wednesday announced seat sharing arrangement for the six Lok Sabha seats in Jammu and Kashmir. As per the arrangement, Congress would contest from two seats in Jammu and Farooq Abdullah would be joint candidate for Srinagar parliamentary seat while two parties would be engaged in “friendly fight” in three other seats.
“We had detailed discussion with Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ambika Soni to strengthen secular front. We have decided that Jammu and Udhampur seat will be contested by Congress and National Conference will support them, while Srinagar seat will be contested by Farooq Abdullah and Congress will support NC,” said leaders of political parties.
NC president Farooq Abdullah said the two parties have unanimously decided that Congress would fight from Udhampur and Jammu seat while he would contest from Srinagar seat with Congress support.
“It will be a friendly contest between two parties on Anantnag, Baramulla and Ladakh Lok Sabha seats. If either Congress wins or NC, it will be the victory of secular political party,” he said.
Farooq was flanked by senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ambika Soni and other senior NC and Congress leaders.
Azad said J&K has practically set an example where a secular front has come up for parliamentary polls.
“It was a good decision of live-and-let live. If we would have contested elections separately, BJP would have gained. In Kashmir too, we would have faced problem from other parties,” he said.
Azad, however, said in Anantnag and Baramulla parliamentary seat, they would not play politics of cut throat with each other. “In these constituencies, we will fight to defeat others not ourselves. It will be a friendly fight.”
He said Congress would support NC and campaign for Abdullah in Srinagar parliamentary seat even as Congress would campaign for their own party candidates in Baramulla and Anantnag parliamentary seats.
“I, Ambika Soni, Nawang Rigzin Jora will campaign for Farooq Abdullah,” Azad said adding Abdullah i a bridge, who keeps balance between the two political parties. “We consider Farooq as common leader.”
Farooq appealed Congress leadership to establish a common platform to ensure a secular country for which NC was ready for any sacrifice.
“There is a need to establish understanding with rest of the secular minded parties across the country to keep the country united,” he said.
Defending dynastic politics, Farooq he said, “If an actor’s son becomes an actor, is it a dynastic thing. If a director’s son becomes director, is this also a dynastic thing or if a doctor makes his son a doctor is this a dynastic thing?”
“I am son of late Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah. I was brought up in his house, and learnt politics from childhood. If people don’t vote the political leader, he cannot win. The hue-and-cry created by BJP is only because they don’t have anything to show to the people,” he said.
Farooq said did Jawahar Lal Nehru’s daughter Indira Gandhi face less trouble. “If we are strong country today, you cannot forget her sacrifice. How can you forget his son’s (Rajeev Gandhi) sacrifice for the nation? Can you forget it?”
In response to a question, Azad alleged that PM Modi’s government is most corrupt government across the world.
He said India is faced with dangers from Pakistan and other neighbouring countries and the people living on the border in J&K are the worst sufferers of the animosity between India and Pakistan. "If there is peace between the two countries, the first beneficiary will be the people of the state."
Azad said secular parties need to come together because communal forces only strengthen Pakistan, China and "our enemies of the nation and weaken the country from within".
He appealed people of Jammu to vote for strengthening secularism and isolating communalism. "A communal India cannot face any nation but secular India can fight any country in the world."