4 Panthers Party MLAs join Congress in Kashmir
14 October 2002
The Times of India
Jammu: State Congress chief Ghulam Nabi Azad''s chances of making it to the post of chief minister improved on Monday when four Panthers Party (PP) legislators decided to support the Congress if it chose its chief ministerial candidate from the Jammu region. ''If the Congress chooses its chief ministerial candidate from the Jammu, all four legislators of our party will support it in government formation,'' PP chief Bhim Singh said. Singh''s party, committed to the creation of a separate state of Jammu, has emerged as the fourth largest party in the House behind the NC, the Congress and the Peoples'' Democratic Party (PDP). The Panthers Party legislature party leader Harsh Dev Singh has emphasised that he would work for the creation of additional seats in the legislative assembly for the Jammu region to bring it on par with the Kashmir Valley. Despite having 3.5 lakh more voters, the Jammu region elects only 37 legislators while as the Kashmir region elects 46 legislators. During the campaign, the Panthers Party had vowed to correct this imbalance and tilt the scales in Jammu region''s favour.