LS elections 2019: Parties inch closer to zero in on candidates

Sahil Rasgotra. Updated: 3/16/2019 11:50:25 AM Front Page


JAMMU: With preparations for Lok Sabha elections speeding up with each passing day, the political parties have almost decided on the leaders whom they would field on six parliament seats in Jammu and Kashmir, even as formal announcement of the names is expected in next couple of days.

While tentative list of National Conference and Congress’ candidates is already afloat, BJP’s state leadership met here today and finalized names of its candidates to be submitted to party’s Parliamentary Board, which is meeting in New Delhi on Saturday under co-chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and national president Amit Shah.

BJP’s partner in the previous coalition government, PDP is also likely to announce the names of its candidates in next 2-3 days, while People Conference has announced names of its candidates on three seats of Kashmir Valley.

There are six Lok Sabha seats in the state, three — Baramulla, Srinagar and Anantnag — in Kashmir, two — Jammu-Poonch and Udhampur-Doda — in Jammu, and one in Ladakh.

The tentative list of NC and Congress’ candidates has been out, even as final outcome on the names is dependent on the deal of seat sharing between the two parties. While NC has already declared B R Kundal as its candidate on Jammu-Poonch constituency, sources said that there were some difficult negotiations going on between two parties on the Srinagar seat.

Congress want NC to concede that seat to them but NC president Dr Farooq Abdullah has already declared his candidature from Srinagar.

Besides Abdullah, NC has shortlisted Mohammad Akbar Lone for Baramulla and new entrant Peer Mohammad Hussain-- who recently defected from PDP—for Anantnag constituency.

While NC is willing to concede the other two seats to Congress, the latter is negotiating for at least one more seat.

Sources said, Congress wants to field Asgar Ali Karbalai or Rigzin Spalbar from Ladakh, while from Udhampur-Doda constituency, it would field Vikramaditya Singh.

State congress president Ghulam Ahmad Mir said that the final decision on the seat sharing with NC would be made by the party President Rahul Gandhi at the end of this week, asserting that party has not zeroed in on any of their candidates so far.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s state leadership met today and finalized the final list of its probables to New Delhi.

“The meeting chaired by Avinash Rai Khanna held threadbare discussions on every single name and a final report was drafted to be presented before the Parliamentary Board of BJP at Delhi,” a party spokesman said.

State President Ravinder Raina, former Dy CM Kavinder Gupta along with and State General Secretary (Org) Ashok Kaul along with Khanna will submit the final report of panel of names for Parliamentary elections 2019 in the meeting of Parliamentary Board at Delhi to be held on Saturday.

The meeting will be jointly chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah.

Sources also informed that BJP is likely to repeat sitting MP Jitendra Singh from Udhampur-Doda seat.
With JKNPP chairman Harshdev Singh already announcing his name from the seat, it would make a triangular Singh vs Singh vs Singh on the prestigious constituency.

Sources also did not rule out the repetition of Jugal Kishore from Jammu-Poonch seat.

Peoples Conference led by Sajad Lone has already announced the party candidates for Baramulla, Srinagar and Anantnag Parliament seats, indicating that his party’s alliance with BJP was crumbling.
This leaves no room for negotiations between two parties and hence BJP is likely to field its candidates on three Valley seats as well, the sources said.

BJP is likely to field Surinder Ambardar from Srinagar constituency, they added.

PC’s central election committee has finalised the names of Raja Aijaz Ali for Baramulla Lok Sabha seat, Irfan Reza Ansari for Srinagar seat and Choudhary Zafar Khatana or Anantnag Parliament seat.

PC spokesperson Adnan Mir said the announcement of candidates for Jammu and Ladakh seats would be made next week some time.

Meanwhile, the PDP on the other hand is all set to announce their candidates in next two to three days.
Sources said for Anantnag parliament segment, the names of PDP Vice President, Abdul Rehman Veeri and senior leader Mehboob Beg had been shortlisted. The party has already announced the name of employee union leader turned politician Qayoom Wani its candidate for Baramulla seat.

In Jammu region, PDP is likely to choose Choudhary Zulfkar Ali for Jammu-Poonch parliament seat, while for Udhampur either MLC Firdous Tak or Mohammad Arshid Malik would be selected.

Sources said the party is still looking for a potential candidate for the Ladakh seat.
PDP Chief Spokesperson Rafi Mir said all the names of the candidates would be announced later this week.
“The party is finalising the list. You will hear all the names of the candidates soon,” Mir said.

Lok Sabha polls will begin on April 11. Elections for the six Lok Sabha seats in Jammu and Kashmir will be held in five phases. Polling will be held in two constituencies of the state on April 11, the first date of elections. The other dates of elections in Jammu and Kashmir are April 18, 23, 29 and May 6.

The counting of votes will be held on May 23.

Comment on this Story