The Jammu and Kashmir unit of the Congress on Saturday accused the PAGD of violating their seat-sharing agreement by fielding National Conference candidates at a few District Development Council (DDC) seats in Rajouri district. It is unfortunate that the National Conference fielded candidates (for DDC polls) where the seats were left for the Congress in Nowshera assembly constituency, senior Congress leader and former member of legislative council Ravinder Sharma said.
He said the Congress remained committed to the already reached agreement and did not field any candidate against the alliance in Nowshera. Sharma, who is also the chief spokesperson of J&K Pradesh Congress Committee, said it was settled in the very beginning of talks for seat sharing with PAGD that PDP-NC together would contest the Nowshera seat while the Seri-Lamberi seat would go to Congress and on Sunderbani seat, the local leadership would jointly decide the candidate.
We did honour the agreement but it was unfortunate that NC fielded its candidate in Seri/Lamberi seat, the home seat of BJP president Ravinder Raina, on the last day and also fielded a candidate for Sunderbani segment, he said. People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) is an amalgam of seven mainstream parties, including the NC and the PDP, that are contesting the ongoing DDC elections on their own party symbols.
Congress had not fielded any candidate on Nowshera seat, which went to polls in the earlier phase. It was conveyed by the top leadership of NC on the day of filing of papers too that NC shall not field its candidate on Seri-Lamberi seat but unfortunately they did, which was wrong, Sharma told reporters in Nowshera. He said no cross candidates were fielded anywhere in line with the already reached agreement between the PAGD and the Congress though there are some other seats where they are fighting against each other after failing to reach an agreement.
The Congress leader appealed to the people to vote for his party candidates to defeat the BJP. People need to send a signal that they cannot be taken for granted by the BJP just on Hindutva, he said and accused the BJP of pursuing anti-youth, anti-poor and anti-farmers policies.
On November 17, the Congress had said that it was not part of PAGD but have entered into an electoral understanding only for the DDC polls.