Jammu, March 20 (IANS) The Congress and the National Conference (NC) on Wednesday announced a pre-poll alliance for the Lok Sabha polls in Jammu and Kashmir but said there will be “s friendly contest” in Anantnag and Baramulla.
The announcement was made by senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and NC President Farooq Abdullah.
Azad accompanied by Ambika Soni and state Congress party President G.A. Mir reached the residence of Abdullah in Jammu.
Making the announcement jointly, Azad and Abdullah said that a clear understanding had been reached on three of the six Lok Sabha seats in the state while the two parties will engage in “a friendly contest” in Anantnag and Baramulla in the Kashmir Valley.
“Abdullah will contest with Congress support in the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat while the NC will not field candidates for Jammu and Udhampur seats in support of the Congress,” Azad said.
“So a clear understanding has been reached on these three seats,” he said.
Discussions were still on for the sixth seat, Ladakh.
The pre-poll alliance talks had hit a deadlock as both the NC and the Congress were not ready to give up their claim over Anantnag.
The NC has decided to field Justice (retired) Hasnain Masoodi at Anantnag while the Congress wanted to put up G.A. Mir.
But now, the Congress will field “weak candidates” in both Anantnag and Baramulla to improve the victory chances for NC candidates.
NC has fielded senior party leader Muhammad Akbar Lone for the north Kashmir’s Baramulla seat.
In the last Lok Sabha, the BJP had three and the NC and PDP one seat each while by-polls in Anantnag could not be held after it was vacated by Mehbooba Mufti in 2016 following the death of her father, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed.