J&K alliance sealed: Congres gets 2, NC 1; friendly contest on 3 LS seats

JAMMU: Sealing an alliance after days of hectic parleys, the Congress and National Conference Wednesday announced they will fight two and one Lok Sabha seats respectively, while agreeing on a "friendly contest" on the rest three constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir.

In a joint press conference here, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and NC patron Farooq Abdullah told the media that while the Congress will contest on the Jammu and Udhampur seats, the National Conference will fight from Srinagar.

There will be a "friendly contest" between the two parties on the Baramulla, Anantang and Ladakh seats, Abdullah said.

"I will contest from the Srinagar seat," he told the press conference.

State Congress chief Gulam Ahmed Mir and AICC General Secretary Ambika Soni were also present.

The state sends six Lok Sabha MPs.

Azad said, "Friendly contest means that we will not go hard against each other and at the same time will make a joint effort to defeat the opponents. Whether they (NC) win or we, it will make no difference because the (seats) will add to the national kitty."

Had the two parties entered the fray separately in Jammu, Azad said, it would have benefited the BJP. "And in Kashmir, if we fought separately, it is difficult to transfer votes."

He said, "We have some MLAs in Anantnag and Baramulla and (by friendly contest) we will be able to maintain our turf. Our fight will be a joint effort to defeat the opponent."

"The alliance has been finalised in national interest and will strengthen the secular forces in J&K as the state faces threat from Pakistan," Azad told reporters.

"Live and let live. This is the best decision taken in national interest. If either the Congress or National Conference wins, it is a win-win situation for both," he said.

Azad said the tie-up will ensure there is no division of secular votes and BJP is not benefited.

He said all Congress leaders will also campaign for Abdullah on the Srinagar Parliamentary seat, which he currently represents.

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PTI