Old Pals: NC, Congress Announce Pre-Poll Alliance

JAMMU — The Congress and the National Conference (NC) on Wednesday announced a pre-poll alliance for the Lok Sabha polls in Jammu and Kashmir but said there will be “s friendly contest” in Anantnag and Baramulla.

As per the pact, National Conference will contest Baramulla, Srinagar, Anantnag and Ladakh. However, the party will not field its candidates in Jammu and Udhampur seats to ensure that the secular votes are not divided.

The announcement was made by senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and NC President Farooq Abdullah.

Azad accompanied by Ambika Soni and state Congress party President G.A. Mir reached the residence of Abdullah in Jammu.

Making the announcement jointly, Azad and Abdullah said that a clear understanding had been reached on six Lok Sabha seats in the state while the two parties will engage in “a friendly contest” in Anantnag and Baramulla in the Kashmir Valley. “Abdullah will contest with Congress support in the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat while the NC will not field candidates for Jammu and Udhampur seats in support of the Congress,” Azad said.

Azad lauded the crucial role being played by Abdullah in the national politics in strengthening secular forces and isolating the divisive parties, which pose grave threat to the unity of the country. 

He said the nation has been hugely heeding to the advice of the National Conference leader which was greatly witnessed during the Opposition conclaves in various parts of the country including Kolkatta.

While stressing the need for strengthening inclusive ethos of the nation, Farooq advised the Congress to stick alliance with the like-minded parties elsewhere in the country in order to meeting the challenge posed by divisive and communal forces. He said the nation is passing through a difficult phase and there was urgent need to unite and foil the machinations of the inimical forces.

 The NC has decided to field Justice (retired) Hasnain Masoodi at Anantnag while the Congress wanted to put up G.A. Mir.

NC has fielded senior party leader Muhammad Akbar Lone for the north Kashmir’s Baramulla seat.

In the last Lok Sabha, the BJP had three and the NC and PDP one seat each while by-polls in Anantnag could not be held after it was vacated by Mehbooba Mufti in 2016 following the death of her father, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed.

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