With Legislative Assembly elections on the anvil in Jammu and Kashmir politicians of all hues have started to run from pillar to post to secure a safe seat in the Legislative Council which will ensure that they make an entry albeit through the easier route into the state assembly. A number of defeated MLAs, and politicians who have lost the confidence of the people are seeking the mandate from their parties to enter the upper house. The political scene was energized after the Election Commission of Indian announced the dates for holding elections to the 11 seats in LC which will be falling vacant soon.
As per the numbers, the BJP-PDP coalition which is likely to form the government soon will be able to win 9 seats if they fight the polls jointly, and opposition Congress-NC combine can send only two candidates to the LC. In PDP, the top contenders include Rafi Ahmad Mir (Ex MLA), Peerzada Mansur Husain (Ex MLA), Mohammad Sartaj Madni (Ex MLA), Zafar Iqbal Manhas, Mehboob Iqbal, Surinder Singh, Peer Mohammad Husain, Sardar Rafiq Husain Khan, Khursheed Aalam, Yasir Reshi and Bashir Ahmad Mir. The party can send six candidates to the upper house of the assembly. In the BJP there are a number of strong contenders from Jammu but it is likely that the party will send Jammu based lawyer, and spokesperson Sunil Sethi to the Upper House. The polls to the Legislative Council will be held on March 2. The notification for the same will be issued on February 12, and last date for filing the nomination is February 18. The last date for the withdrawal of candidature will be February 21, and counting shall be held on March 2.
Sources tell that National Conference is likely to field Sajjad Ahmad Kichloo, and Nasir Alam Wani in the LC polls as these two were fielded in the Rajya Sabha elections as party candidates. In this election PDP is likely to get the maximum number of candidates to be sent to LC, and the tactics for this election is likely to remain same as the Rajya Sabha polls. The party will enter into a strategic tie-up with BJP to ensure that maximum number of candidates are sent to the upper house. Sources tell the PDP leadership is also keen to introduce new and fresh faces into the House as it wants a new lot of leadership which is committed to the core ideology to be developed for future. A number of party candidates who lost by slender margin in MLA elections are also being considered by the party High Command as party candidates to the LC. From Jammu as well the PDP is looking for fresh candidates who can add value to the party in the long run.
The BJP on it’s part will have also have to make judicious choice to ensure that only good quality candidates are sent to the upper house. The sentiments of the workers, and local leadership apart from interests of Jammu needs to be kept in mind while making these decisions, aver political watchers.