Jolt to INDIA bloc, PDP to contest Lok Sabha elections alone, Mehbooba-Omar Abdullah spar

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Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir): In another jolt to the fledgling INDIA bloc, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Chief Mehbooba Mufti announced on Wednesday that they will pitch their candidates for the Lok Sabha elections in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

The development came after National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah said that they would be contesting elections for all three seats in Kashmir. “In Mumbai, I said, Farooq Abdullah is our best representative and he will take the call. Omar Abdullah should have discussed the same with me for greater interest, we were not going to fight over parliamentary elections,” Mufti told reporters in Srinagar.

“But the way Omar Abdullah said, PDP doesn’t exist and is nowhere, hurt us. The BJP broke my party completely but Omar’s statement made my workers disappointed. Now my workers are calling me and telling me that we should also pitch our candidates,” Mufti said.

“I’m disappointed with what Omar Abdullah said about the PDP,” she added. The former CM further confirmed that her party would now enter the contest on its own. “All the agencies are after my workers, so I felt my workers were humiliated by Omar Abdullah’s statement,” the former Chief Minister alleged.

“We will pitch our candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections,” Mufti told reporters. Reacting to this, Omar Abdullah said, “…If she (PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti) has announced to field candidates for all 5 seats, it is her choice. We have fielded candidates for 3 seats in Kashmir based on her formula…”

“If she is fielding her own candidates, then perhaps she does not want any kind of alliance even for the assembly elections. We kept the door open; now if she has closed the door, then it is not our fault.,” he added. The National Conference and the People’s Democratic Party are partners in the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance formed to challenge the BJP in the general elections

The two regional parties are two important constituents of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, formed to restore special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The Lok Sabha polls in the Union Territory will be held in the first five phases on April 19 (Udhampur), April 26 (Jammu), May 7 (Anantnag-Rajouri), May 13 (Srinagar) and May 20 (Baramulla). The counting of votes will be taken up on June 4.

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