STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: Sensing possibility of one seat of the State Assembly’s Upper House slipping out of its hands, the NC-Congress coalition today renewed efforts for ensuring victory of its candidates on three LC seats of the Kashmir Division.
Quoting reliable sources, a Srinagar based news agency said , the Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) President, Saifuddin Soz on Sunday called upon the ‘third front’ leaders in an effort to garner support for coalition candidates in Legislative Council elections slated for 7th March.
“Prof Soz met the third front leaders including Hakim Yasin and Gulam Hassan Mir to get an assurance of their support to the NC-Congress candidates in the LC elections”, the sources said. The leaders have given assurances of their support to the coalition candidates, they added.
When contacted, Prof Soz confirmed his meetings with PDF President, Hakim Muhammad Yasin and other leaders in view of the LC elections. “We won’t leave any chances to ensure victory of our candidates. We are in touch with various leaders and we are very much sure that our candidates will win”, he added. Pertinently, Congress is not taking the fight lightly keeping in view the fact that its candidate Gulam Nabi Monga had lost the LC elections by just one vote during previous Council elections.
Meanwhile, PDF President, Hakim Yasin confirmed to the agency that Prof Soz had called upon him. “However, I have made no commitments regarding support to their candidates. We will discuss and decide about supporting candidates who we feel deserve our support”, Yasin said. However, CPI (M) State Secretary M.Y Tarigami said he was not contacted by anyone in this regard. “I am not aware about it as I am presently out of State”, Tarigami said on phone. With uncontested election for three seats of Jammu Division, election would be held for five seats of the Upper House (four of Kashmir division and one seat reserved for Doda district) on 7th March.
Five candidates in fray for four seats of Kashmir Division include Muzaffar Parray (Congress), Abdul Majeed Bhat Larnoo and Showkat Hussain Ganai (both National Conference), Nayeem Akhter Andrabi (PDP) and Shiban Krishen Dudha (Independent). For Doda reserved seat, there would be direct contest between Naresh Gupta (Congress) and Mohammad Iqbal (NPP). Gupta’s victory is certain going by the numbers the NC-Congress Alliance has in the Assembly.
However, the political observers are keeping fingers crossed over the outcome of one of the four seats from the Valley. As per the mathematical calculations, each candidate has to secure at least 18 votes for making it to LC from Kashmir Valley. National Conference-Congress coalition has 45 MLAs as such it can sail through on two of the seats. Similarly, Peoples Democratic Party’s lone candidate Nayeem Akhtar is also expected to make it as his party has 21 members in the Lower House.
However, Shiban Krishan Dudha, an independent candidate – believed to be backed by PDP and some of the MLAs from yet to be formed third front – was believed to have all potential to spring a surprise from the Valley.
According to reliable sources, Dudha has been able to get the support from the yet to be formed third front.
While Dudha has expressed support of 10 MLAs, support from the 11 BJP MLAs would have made it certain for him to bag one seat from the Valley, leaving future of one of the coalition candidates from Valley uncertain.
However, the election of the lone Kashmiri Pandit candidate to the LC seems to have suffered rough weather with the coalition making an all out effort to garner support for its candidates. The coalition seems to have convinced the all important BJP legislators to either support its candidates or abstain from voting.
Leader of the BJP’s rebel group, Chaman Lal Gupta said that the rebel BJP MLAs have not decided yet whom to support. However, he dismissed reports of their having pledged support to the independent candidate. When asked whether any party or group had approached them for their support in the elections, “No one had come so far. But yes, some youth had come to me asking for support to Dhudha but I refused”, he said.
Meanwhile BJP leader Ashok Khajuria made it clear that the four BJP MLAs would abstain from the voting on 7th March. Political observers believe the abstention by the BJP members would in all certainty bail out the coalition candidates, election of one of whom had otherwise been put into jeopardy by the independent candidate.