Farooq, Azad to finalise seat-sharing pact today

Amit Khajuria

Tribune News Service

Jammu, March 19

In fast-changing political developments, NC president Farooq Abdullah and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad will hold the final phase of talks on a pre-poll alliance on Wednesday.

Farooq arrived in Jammu on Tuesday afternoon, while Azad will reach here on Wednesday to hold what is believed to be the decisive phase of talks on the seat-sharing arrangement.

In late evening developments, the NC upped the ante by saying that it would contest five seats and would support the Congress in the Udhampur-Doda seat. The Congress has finalised the name of Dogra dynasty scion Vikramaditya Singh for the seat to challenge the sitting MP and Minister of State in the PMO Dr Jitendra Singh of the BJP.

After discussing the issue on Tuesday evening, Farooq and Azad decided to meet on Wednesday to negotiate on the issue. The NC has already decided the candidates for three parliamentary constituencies of the Kashmir valley — Srinagar, Anantnag and Baramulla.

While Farooq will contest from Srinagar, Akbar Lone from Baramulla and Justice (retired) Hasnain Masoodi is in the fray from Anantnag. “Since both the parties (NC and Congress) are fighting their common enemy — BJP, that’s why the NC is willing to concede one of the two seats in the Jammu region. There may be further negotiations for the Jammu-Poonch seat,” sources told The Tribune.

The sources also said the NC president had started exploring chances of fielding a candidate from the Ladakh constituency that goes to the polls in the fifth phase on May 6. He held discussions with Leh and Kargil leaders in Jammu.

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