Hectic Lobbying Begins For 6 LC Seats24 March 2011
Srinagar: Hectic lobbying has started for the six crucial seats, falling vacant in the coming days, in the State Legislative Council, for which polling will be held on April 13. The main opposition, the PDP, has an edge over winning at least one seat, given the fact that it has 21 members, the largest with any party. The ruling National Conference has decided to strengthen South Kashmir by giving mandate to two candidates there while the Congress is eyeing three seats, two from Kashmir and one from Jammu. One seat has been kept reserved for Poonch district of Jammu. The six MLCs whose seats would fall vacant on April 19 include Tarlochan Singh Wazir, Muhammad Rashid Qureshi, Altaf Ahmed Wani and Showkat Hussain Ganai, all from NC. Two members of Congress, Jehangir Mir and Abdul Gani Vakil, would also retire on the same day. According to an election notification issued by the Secretary Assembly, Muhammad Ramzan, elections for all six seats would be held on April 13. “Members should be residents of Jammu and Kashmir. One member should be elected from Poonch district,” the notification reads. Members of the Upper House are selected through notifications by the legislators of the Lower House. A member has to get at least 21 votes to be chosen. Last date of filing of nomination papers is March 24, while scrutiny of the papers would take place on March 31. Sources in the NC said the party has decided to field two candidates from South Kashmir. “The move is aimed to strengthen the party base in South, which is seen as a stronghold of PDP,” they said. Those who are lobbying hard to get mandate from South Kashmir on NC ticket are Bashir Ahmed Veeri, Abdul Majeed and Peer Ahmed Shah. The disgruntled NC leader from Hazratbal, Syed Akhoon, is also eyeing an MLC post. The party is yet to decide about the names from Jammu. “There are lot of people in the list from Jammu,” an NC insider said. As for Poonch, where NC MLA Aijaz Jan has a strong footing, the party is likely to shortlist the names to be fielded in a few days. The Congress leaders too are gearing up for the MLC seat. Sources in the party said PCC chief Saifudin Soz is facing problems, given the fact that Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad may also pick someone from his lobby for the post. Vakil, who is retiring from the post of MLC, has been an ardent supporter of Azad. The probable candidates from the Congress side in Kashmir include Ghulam Nabi Monga, Muzaffar Parray, Abdul Majeed Paddar and Gulzar Wani. Sources said Congress leaders, which include former minister Mangat Ram Sharma, Yashpal Khajuria, Gumukh Singh, Janak Raj Gupta (who is from Azad-lobby), are strongly lobbying for the posts. “Soz is in touch with Congress president Sonia Gandhi on the candidates to be fielded. On the other hand, Azad too is pitching for the candidates of his choice,” sources said. The main opposition, PDP, has a natural advantage of being largest opposition with 21 members. Sources said there is every possibility that PDP may bag at least one of the six seats.