Congress, National Conference alliance ends in Jammu and Kashmir
Miffed Omar Abdullah says decision to part ways was taken 10 days ago; Congress says will fight assembly elections on its own
New Delhi: The six-year-old alliance between the Congress party and the National Conference (NC) ended in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday ahead of state assembly elections, and both parties claimed the decision was theirs.
Reeling under one of its worst electoral performances in the recent general election, the split and the controversy surrounding it may isolate the Congress further.
“I did say that after having extensive talks with the party and the leaders at all levels, the party has come to a conclusion that we will fight all the seats in the upcoming Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir on our own strength,” Ambika Soni, senior Congress leader and general secretary in charge of the state said at a media briefing in Jammu on Sunday.
Ghulam Nabi Azad, senior leader of the party and a Rajya Sabha member from the state, was also present at the briefing. Azad said that in pre-poll alliances, the votes of one party does not generally get transferred to the other.
However, the split came with its own share of controversy. Omar Abdullah, chief minister of the state and senior NC leader was not pleased with the Congress announcement, tweeting that he had conveyed the decision to go solo 10 days ago to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
“I met Mrs Gandhi 10 days ago and thanked her for all her support. I conveyed NC’s decision to fight the elections alone. I explained the reasons but also told her I wouldn’t be making a public announcement because I didn’t want it to look opportunistic. For it to be spun now as a Cong decision is wrong & a complete distortion of the facts, not surprising but incorrect none the less,” he said in three consecutive tweets.
To be sure, the two parties did not have a pre-poll alliance in the last state elections in 2008; they came together only after the results were announced. The NC was, however, a key member of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) at the Centre. However, they fought the 2014 Lok Sabha elections together in Jammu and Kashmir.
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