The deliberation on an alliance between National Conference (NC) and Congress for the upcoming parliamentary polls seems to have hit a roadblock as no party is willing to concede the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat.
NC today fielded its president and three-time chief minister Farooq Abdullah from Srinagar-Budgam parliamentary constituency and former Legislative Assembly speaker Muhammad Akbar Lone from Baramulla-Kupwara while leaving the option for fielding or not fielding their candidate for Anantnag-Pulwama seat open.
The NC parliamentary board chaired by the party president met at the party’s Nawa-e-Subha headquarters in Srinagar on Monday.
An NC spokesman said the parliamentary board members were unanimously of the opinion that the party should contest all six parliamentary constituencies.
He said the board authorized Farooq to take the final decision on any coalition with secular forces taking into account the national political situation.
The spokesman said names of the candidates for other constituencies would be finalized in the next meeting.
Sources said NC has categorically refused to concede even a single seat of the three Lok Sabha seats in Kashmir while Congress is adamant at having at least one seat in their kitty from the Valley.
Talking to Rising Kashmir, NC’s Provincial President, Kashmir, Nasir Aslam Wani said his party would contest on all three Lok Sabha seats in Kashmir.
“Omar (Abdullah) Sahab (the NC vice president) has categorically said that the party will contest on all three seats in Kashmir. So, there is no compromise on it,” Wani said. “The ball is now in the Congress’ court.”
However, Wani said he hopes that in the next two to three days, a final agreement would be sealed with their former alley Congress.
On Sunday, former chief minister and NC Vice President Omar Abdullah made it clear that his party would not settle for anything less than all three Lok Sabha constituencies in Kashmir valley.
NC had lost all three seats to rival Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2014 polls.
As per reports, NC has decided to field the new entrant to the party from south Kashmir, Peer Muhammad Hussain, who recently defected from PDP to NC, from Anantnag-Pulwama parliamentary constituency.
NC has also declared former chief secretary B R Kundal as its candidate on the Jammu-Poonch constituency.
Sources said NC wants to contest at least four Lok Sabha seats but is willing to negotiate on two Jammu seats and Leh-Kargil seat with Congress.
Jammu Kashmir has six Lok Sabha seats, three – Baramulla-Kupwara, Srinagar-Budgam and Anantnag-Pulwama - in Kashmir, two – Jammu-Poonch and Udhampur-Doda in Jammu, and one that of the cold desert region of Ladakh.
State Congress chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir said, “Being a national party, it is imperative for us to have representation from all three regions of the State. Our party is clear that we should have at least one representation from each of the three regions.”
Sources said Congress wants to field Tariq Hameed Karra from Srinagar, Asgar Ali Karbalai or Rigzin Spalbar from Ladakh and Vikramaditya Singh from Udhampur-Doda constituency.
Parliamentary polls would begin on April 11 and elections for the six Lok Sabha seats in Jammu Kashmir would be held in five phases.
Polling would be held in two constituencies of the State on April 11 that would be followed on April 18, 23, 29 and May 6.
Counting of votes would be held on May 23.