PDP not to field candidates from Jammu, Udhampur seats

Srinagar: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Saturday announced that it will not field its candidates from Jammu and Udhampur Lok Sabha constituencies to avert division of “secular votes”.

PDP President and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti told reporters here that the decision has been taken keeping in mind the “larger interest” of the state.
She said the party will field its candidates from Srinagar, Anantnag and Baramulla constituencies but had not decided yet about Ladakh constituency.

Mehbooba, who resigned as Chief Minister in June last year after the PDP-BJP coalition broke up, will contest from the traditional Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency, which she represented earlier.

The state has six Lok Sabha constituencies in all.
The decision of not fielding PDP candidates from Jammu and Udhampur constituencies has been taken to ensure that “secular votes are not divided” and that “secular forces are strengthened”.

The announcement comes days after National Conference and Congress announced a poll alliance under which the former party will not field its candidates from Jammu and Udhampur seats.

Replying to questions, Mehbooba said the ‘maha gathbandan’ (grand alliance) of anti-BJP parties is not what it should be.

Referring to the ban imposed on JKLF by the central government, the PDP chief criticised the move, saying a “muscular policy” was being used just for the elections and in the process, Jammu and Kashmir was being made a “sacrificial lamb”.