Congress-NC Alliance Crumbles Ahead of Kashmir Polls

Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at a rally in the state
Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at a rally in the state

JAMMU/SRINAGAR — The ruling National Conference and its ally the Congress will fight the coming elections in Jammu and Kashmir on their own, ending a long alliance, it was announced Sunday.

The Congress made the announcement in Jammu, prompting Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to say that he had convened the National Conference decision to Congress president Sonia Gandhi 10 days ago.

Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ambika Soni and Saifuddin Soz said the Congress will field candidates in all 87 seats in the assembly elections due here by the year-end.

Without naming its ally, Azad told the media: “Coalition politics is always a political compulsion and we have decided not to form any pre-poll alliance for the forthcoming state elections.”

He, however, said the Congress will have “poll adjustments” with three parties in the Kashmir Valley: the Peoples Democratic Front (PDF) of Hakim Muhammad Yasin, the Democratic Party Nationalist (DPN) of Ghulam Hassan Mir and the CPI-M, whose most prominent leader is Yusuf Tarigami.

Mir, Yasin and Tarigami are members of the 87-seat Kashmir assembly.

A former chief minister, Azad said many party workers Saturday expressed resentment against some Congress ministers in the Abdullah-led government.

Ambika Soni said the issue of Congress chief ministerial candidate will be decided by the elected members of the party and the high command after the elections. The Congress has 17 legislators in Kashmir.

Omar Abdullah also said Sunday that he had conveyed to Sonia Gandhi 10 days ago that his party will fight the assembly elections on its own.

“I met Gandhi 10 days ago (and) thanked her for all her support. I conveyed NC’s decision to fight the (coming) elections alone,” he tweeted, referring to his party.

“I explained the reasons but also told her I wouldn’t be making a public announcement because I didn’t want it to look opportunistic,” he said.

“For it to be spun now as a Cong(ress) decision is wrong (and) a complete distortion of the facts, not surprising but incorrect none the less,” he added.–IANS


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