Sources said NC is unlikely to field any candidate in the RS polls and instead “extend full support” to Azad.
Facing ‘survival crisis’ in Jammu and Kashmir, the Congress leadership has decided to “explore all options” to ensure its senior leader Ghulam Nabi Azad retains the Rajya Sabha seat in the forthcoming RS polls in the State.
The party leaders, according to informed sources, are in touch with the National Conference to garner support of its 15 legislators and some other “independent candidates with secular ideology”, to ensure Azad’s win. The RS polls are scheduled on February 7 while Wednesday is the last day for filing the nominations.
Sources said NC is unlikely to field any candidate in the RS polls and instead “extend full support” to Azad. “The final call in this regard is likely to be taken by the NC working president Omar Abdullah in a couple of days,” they said.
NC’s General Secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar said the party has “authorized” Omar to take the final decision on the issue. “We are undecided on whether we should field any candidate in the RS polls or not,” Sagar said, hinting that the party is touch with the Congress leadership on supporting Azad.
A senior Congress leader said the AICC chief Sonia Gandhi “wishes the Congress face Azad to retain the RS seat.” “To ensure this, talks are on with NC at the highest level and the deal is likely to be sealed in coming days,” he said. At present Azad is the leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha.
NC has only 15 members while Congress has 12. “Even if both parties join hands for Azad, they still need support of three more independent candidates to bag one seat, in case there is a tie-up between the BJP and PDP,” they said.
On the other hand, PDP has already decided to contest on two seats in J&K, in the RS polls, while leaving two other seats for the “prospective alliance partner.”