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regular-article-logo Saturday, 22 June 2024

Congress in Kargil 'gifts' nomination of Ladakh parliamentary seat to National Conference to stop vote split

Kargil unit of INDIA bloc allies Congress and NC jointly fielded Haji Mohammad Hanifa Jan, NC’s district president, as consensus candidate for seat

Muzaffar Raina Srinagar Published 02.05.24, 05:47 AM
Hanifa Jan’s profile picture on his social media account 

Hanifa Jan’s profile picture on his social media account 

The Congress in Kargil on Wednesday “gifted” the nomination of the Ladakh parliamentary seat to ally National Conference (NC) to “prevent division of Muslim votes”.

The Kargil unit of INDIA bloc allies Congress and NC jointly fielded Haji Mohammad Hanifa Jan, the NC’s district president, as a consensus candidate for the seat.

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It is unclear whether the decision enjoys the support of the Congress high command as the Ladakh seat had gone to the Congress under the seat-sharing deal with the NC.

The Congress seniors have so far not endorsed the decision.

“We have finalised the name of Haji Hanifa Jan for the Ladakh seat, and he will be the joint candidate of the two parties (Congress and NC),” Qamar Ali Akhoon, former minister and senior leader of the NC, told reporters in Kargil. Local Congress leaders accompanied Akhoon at the meet with the media.

Congress leader Feroz Kachroo said the decision had been taken keeping in mind the interests of Leh and Kargil and aims for the higher goal of defeating the BJP.

“Our leaders are in Delhi now for a meeting with the AICC (All India Congress Committee). We hope the mandate will be given to Jan as our candidate,” he said.

Kachroo said they would continue to support Jan, regardless of the “unfortunate circumstances” that might arise, necessitating a change.

Ladakh Congress president Nawang Ringzin Jora, however, said the decision was taken “locally” by the Kargil Congress and NC.

“They have not taken the approval of the party high command,” Jora told The Telegraph.

According to the agreement, the NC was supposed to field candidates in three Valley constituencies and the Congress in the two Jammu seats and one Ladakh seat of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state.

Congress sources said the consensus about the candidate had eluded the Leh and Kargil units of the party, with the Leh unit backing a Buddhist from the region while the Kargil Congress favouring a Muslim candidate.

“This was the only way to prevent a split in anti-BJP votes. We hope Buddhists in Leh will realise that we have taken the decision in the interest of Ladakh. Our effort is to prevent the BJP from winning,” he said.

Muslims enjoy a majority in Ladakh but the split in their votes would often help Buddhists win the seat. Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, a Buddhist, is Ladakh’s sitting MP.

Ladakh votes on May 20

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