April 23, 2024

PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti and NC President Farooq Abdullah seen in file photos. (PTI)

Mehbooba Mufti said on Wednesday her Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will contest the Lok Sabha elections by itself in Kashmir, after its INDIA bloc partner National Conference (NC) announced it would field candidates in all three seats in the region.

PDP’s parliamentary board would take a final call on the candidates, she said, adding the NC leadership had disappointed and hurt her.

NC-Congress seat-sharing deal in J&K

Mufti’s statement followed after Farooq Abdullah-led Jammu and Kashmir National Conference said it would field contestants on all seats of Kashmir while giving two seats to the Congress in Jammu as part of the INDIA bloc’s seat-sharing deal.

“When the INDIA’s meeting took place in Mumbai, I said there that since (NC president) Farooq Abdullah is our senior leader, he will take a decision (on seat sharing) and will do justice. I had hoped he would keep the party interests aside,” she said.

But the NC took the decision to contest all three seats in Kashmir unilaterally, she added.

“ …they should have told me two months ago that they wanted to contest themselves and told me not to field candidates, then perhaps for the larger interests, we would not have contested,” she said.

5 Lok Sabha seats in J&K

Jammu & Kashmir, which is a union territory after a constitutional amendment ended its special status as a state, has five Lok Sabha constituencies: Srinagar, Anantnag, Baramulla, Jammu, and Udhampur. While the first three seats in Kashmir were won by the National Conference in 2019, the BJP represents the Jammu and the Udhampur constituencies.

The three parties are part of the Opposition’s INDIA or Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance, which aims to oust the Narendra Modi government via a collective fight in the coming elections. However, the internal differences between these over two dozen non-BJP parties continue to result in such divisions, which may end up benefiting the BJP.

Deadlock in seat-sharing deals between the INDIA allies also exists in states such as West Bengal and Punjab where the ruling parties, Trinamool Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party, have announced solo bids in the elections. In Kerala, the Congress and the Left have fielded overlapping candidates on certain seats, including Wayanad, which is Rahul Gandhi’s constituency.

Lok Sabha elections start on April 19. The results will be out on June 4.

First Published: Apr 03 2024 | 4:02 PM IST