Congress, National Conference Announce J&K, Ladakh Seat-Sharing Formula

The announcement comes a day after Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti separately announced candidates for three Lok Sabha seats in Kashmir.

Congress, National Conference Announce J&K, Ladakh Seat-Sharing Formula

Both parties will be contesting on three Lok Sabha seats each.

The Congress and Farooq Abdullah's National Conference - who are members of the opposition INDIA bloc - today announced a seat-sharing formula for the Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Both parties will each contest three Lok Sabha seats.

The decision by the Congress to go with National Conference has thrown Mehbooba Mufti's PDP under the bus even as both the parties are part of the INDIA block.

Mehbooba Mufti is contesting from Anantnag-Rajouri seat and the Congress support in the seat was seen as crucial for both parties.

"Congress candidates will contest from Udhampur, Jammu and Ladakh Lok Sabha seats and National Conference candidates will contest from Anantnag, Baramulla and Srinagar Lok Sabha seats," National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said.

Senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid said while the PDP is part of the INDIA block but "seat adjustment is a different thing".

Mr Khurshid said it's not just an alliance for seat sharing but also an alliance of ideology. He said they made all efforts to avoid any confusion over the sharing arrangement between the PDP and NC but given the less number of seats they had gone with one party for seat adjustment.

Jammu and Kashmir has five constituencies while Ladakh has one.

The announcement comes a day after Ms Mufti, who recently attended an INDIA bloc event to protest against Arvind Kejriwal's arrest in Delhi - separately announced candidates for three Lok Sabha seats in Kashmir.

Ms Mufti would contest from the Anantnag-Rajouri seat, a prestige seat that may see a three-way fight between her, Democratic Progressive Azad Party's Ghulam Nabi Azad and the National Conference candidate.Mr Azad, however, told NDTV that he was yet to decide if he would contest or not.

"My party has announced it (candidature) but I have not taken a final call," he said.

In August 2019, the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 was repealed and it was converted into two union territories. No assembly election has been held in the union territory since then. Last year the Supreme Court, hearing a clutch of petitions on this subject, said an Assembly election had to be held by September 30.

In March, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar, while announcing the general elections poll schedule, said the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly polls will be held after the Lok Sabha elections.

The Lok Sabha polls in the Union Territory will be held in the first five phases on April 19 (Udhampur), April 26 (Jammu), May 7 (Anantnag-Rajouri), May 13 (Srinagar) and May 20 (Baramulla).