While the Congress and the National Conference (NC) are in the process of forging an alliance for the Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir, Vikramaditya Singh, who recently resigned from the PDP, has already launched his campaign from the Udhampur constituency where he is expected to be fielded by the Congress.
Vikramaditya had also resigned from his seat in the upper house of the J&K legislature in protest against the continued “discrimination” of Mehbooba Mufti with the Jammu region.
Vikramaditya, during his whirlwind tour, has visited Kathua, Udhampur, Doda and various other places that are part of the Udhampur Lok Sabha constituency.
This is after 35 years that the scion of the Dogra dynasty is trying his luck for the Lok Sabha seat after his father, Dr Karan Singh, lost the Lok Sabha election for the Jammu seat in 1984.
Vikramaditya’s candidature has cropped up as senior Congress leader, Ghulam Nabi Azad, was reportedly not interested in contesting the election from his home turf.
When contacted over the phone on Thursday, the NC President, Farooq Abdullah, told this correspondent that talks for electoral alliance were progressing between the NC and Congress. However, nothing has so far “solidified”, he added.
There were reports that the Congress was in favour of contesting 3 of the 6 Lok Sabha seats in the state but the NC has already announced its candidates; Farooq Abdullah, Mohammad Akbar Lone and BR Kundal for the Srinagar, Baramulla and Jammu Lok Sabha seats respectively.
Farooq had won the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat in the by-election that was held recently after the resignation of Tariq Hameed Qarra of the PDP in protest against the party’s tie-up with the BJP.
The BJP has not yet announced its candidates but is likely to this time tie-up with Sajad Lone’s Peoples Conference for contesting the three seats of Kashmir valley. A former separatist, Lone was a minister in Mehbooba Mufti’s cabinet from the BJP quota. The BJP had recently supported his party to take control of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation.
The BJP has suffered a severe setback in Ladakh where its sitting MP, Thuptsan Chhewang, resigned from the Lok Sabha seat and also from the party to protest against the failure of the Modi government to fulfil the promise of granting Union Territory (UT) status to Ladakh. The BJP is likely to field Chhering Dorjey who is a member of the J&K Legislative Council.