Even a seat sharing between the two coalition partners, the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections in J&K have proved that the National Conference and Congress are fast moving apart.
The leaders of both the parties are accusing each other of not working for the success of alliance candidates in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections even though the results are yet to come out.
The fissures came to the fore when senior Congress leader and Minister for Medical Education Taj Mohiuddin claimed that some NC workers in Uri had not voted for the party candidate Sharief-ud-Din Shariq.
“National Conference vote share (in Uri) has got divided into two. 50 percent of NC activists have voted in favour of (PDP candidate) Muzaffar Hussain Beigh,” Taj, who represents Uri in the state assembly, said.
The Minister’s claim drew sharp response from senior NC leader from Uri, Mohammad Shafi, a Rajya Sabha member, who accused Taj of trying to ‘cover up his failure’.
“He (Taj) is simply trying to cover up his failure. Instead of blaming the NC workers, he should have explained how 12 Panchayat representatives affiliated with Congress met Beigh pledging their support in elections,” Shafi alleged.
Shafi also alleged that senior Congress workers in Uri worked in favour of Salam-ud-Din Bajad, candidate of People’s Conference in Baramulla constituency.
Around 20 Congress Sarpanches joined the issue and accused Shafi of working against his party’s candidate.
“His (Shafi’s) son was conspicuous by his absence from a public meeting addressed by none other than the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. Many NC workers were reported to be working as polling agents of PDP,” the sarpanches said in a joint statement.
The panchayat leaders admitted meeting with the PDP candidate over tea but claimed that they said a categorical ‘no’ to Beigh’s request for support in view of the directive from Congress high command to work for alliance candidate, Shariq.
Several Congress leaders and associates have admitted that the party supporters did not vote en bloc for the National Conference candidates in the three Lok Sabha seats of the Valley.
Congress leader and Tourism Minister Ghulam Ahmad Mir admitted that the party leaders could not motivate their cadres to vote for National Conference candidate in Islamabad Lok Sabha constituency which went to polls on April 24.
“We failed to mobilize our grassroots workers to vote for NC as Dooru is stronghold of Congress and has never voted for the NC,” he said.
Ghulam Hassan Mir, who is minister in the state government on Congress quota, said it was very difficult for him to transfer the vote of his supporters to NC.
“It was difficult for me to transfer the votes in NC’s favour as during the past decade, my supporters have always stood against the National Conference. I worked really hard and made repeated pleas to the people to vote for the NC candidate but it is ultimately for them to decide,” Mir said.