New Delhi: Rajya Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir took a new turn on Tuesday with National Conference and Congress deciding to pitch a common candidate -- Ghulam Nabi Azad -- to defeat what they termed as "unholy alliance" of PDP and BJP.
With Rajya Sabha elections scheduled on February seven, BJP has already announced two candidates for the four seats which fall vacant after the retirement of Azad and Saif-ud-din Soz on February 10 and Ghulam Nabi Wani and Mohammad Shafi of National Conference on February 15.
National Conference (NC) Working President Omar Abdullah held a meeting with Congress President Sonia Gandhi here today to finalise the decision on Azad's candidature.
After a 30-minute long meeting, Omar tweeted that the two parties have "decided to combine forces to file a joint candidate for RS polls in J&K to snatch a seat from the unholy alliance."
The Election Commission has issued three separate notifications for the four seats of Rajya Sabha. In the first election, there will be polling for the first seat, in the second for the second, and in the third for the two other seats. In the elections for the first two seats, a minimum of 44 votes will be required to win; in the third round, a minimum of 29.
BJP with 25 and PDP with 28 seats and it is expected that there will be smooth sailing for the first two seats. However, a keen tussle is expected in the third round as the combined alliance of Congress and National Conference has 27 seats and CPM member Mohammed Yusuf Tarigami and independent MLAs Hakeem Yasin and Syed Mohammad Baqir Rizvi may support Azad's candidature taking the number to 30.
BJP has nominated party's national executive member Shamsher Singh Manhas and former Yuva Morcha president of the party in the state Chander Mohan Sharma as party candidates for the upcoming Rajya Sabha election.
The NC and Congress coming together has put a break on free run of PDP and BJP which is expected to form a government in the state in second week of February.