While PDP and BJP decided to contest on two seats each so as to avoid any contest between themselves, the NC-Congress after months of mudslinging on each other especially during the 2014 assembly polls, jointly fielded candidates for three vacancies.

Congress is working overtime to woo independents in Jammu and Kashmir Assembly, to seek re-election of Ghulam Nabi Azad, its leader of opposition in the Upper House.Party’s deputy leader Anand Sharma on Tuesday conceded that it was a difficult election, but expressed confidence that Azad will sail through with the help of the National Conference (NC), the CPI (M) and few independents. After Muri Deora’s demise, Congress realises that its numbers will come down, as there was no chance to get a Congress nominee elected on Deora’s seat from Maharashtra. “We want Azad in Parliament. Besides, we cannot be losing numbers in RS,” he saidWhile PDP and BJP decided to contest on two seats each so as to avoid any contest between themselves, the NC-Congress after months of mudslinging on each other especially during the 2014 assembly polls, jointly fielded candidates for three vacancies.The State assembly with 87 members forms the electoral college of the Rajya Sabha. Though, election is being conducted for four seats that have fallen vacant, situation has become more complicated as the Election Commission has issued three different notifications, thus making them three separate elections. Therefore, electors will have to vote thrice – twice for one candidate each and once for two of the one candidate.Given the fractured verdict, no party is in a position to claim victory. The largest party PDP has 28 seats followed by the BJP 25, NC 15 and Congress 12. Remaining seven seats are shared by smaller parties and independents.
The NC and Congress together with 27 votes, need five more to send the Leader of Opposition back to Rajya Sabha. Two candidates Fayaz Ahmad Mir of PDP and NCs Sajjad A Kitchloo are in fray for the first notification. They require 44 votes. Here Mir’s victory with the help of BJP seems a reality. For the second notification NCs Nasir Aslam Wani is pitted against the BJPs Shamsheer Singh Manhas. Apparently, Manhas also appears on safe wicket with the support of PDP, as he also requires 44 votes to sail through.But the trickiest elections is for the third notification for which polling has to take place to elect two members. Those in fray are Ghulam Nabi Azad (Congress), Chander Mohan Sharma (BJP) and Nazir Ahmad Laway (PDP).
While CPI (M) has announced, it will vote against the PDP-BJP candidates, the Congress is still looking to manage three independents. Engineer Rashid, Hakim Yasin and Pawan Gupta, The party received a setback when other independent from Zanskar constituency of Ladakh Syed Baqir Rizvi announced support for the PDP-BJP.The election will decide the political future of Azad, former Chief Minister and senior Congress leader. Worries for Congress are that Azad’s absence in Rajya Sabha will send floor management haywire. Ironically, the NC working president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah had described Azad an “opportunist”, during the poll campaign. When contacted, Azad now says, both the Congress and NC were on the same page in respect to their ideology and principles and that is why they had been working together.

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Congress braces for tough Rajya Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir