Principal Players Roll Up Their Sleeves For Poll Harvest In Poonch, Rajouri

Principal Players Roll Up Their Sleeves For Poll Harvest In Poonch, Rajouri

14 December 2013
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Dinesh Manhotra

Jammu: In the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, the main political players of Jammu and Kashmir have started concentrating on the twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri. The ruling National Conference, its coalition partner Congress and main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have devised strategies to make inroads into the hilly belt, comprising seven Assembly segments. Although for the last couple of years, the ruling National Conference and opposition PDP have been concentrating on this belt, the Congress has now jumped into the fray to explore more possibilities in this region, which was once considered to be the citadel of the National Conference. With two prominent leaders of the PDP, Master Tassadiq Hussain and Murtaza Khan, joining the Congress, the party leadership is hoping to reap political benefit from these two districts, known for ethnic divisions. First time after his appointment as Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) chief, Saifuddin Soz conducted an extensive tour of the all the Assembly segments of this belt in the last week of November this year. Soz visited interiors of Poonch and Rajouri and tried to iron out differences among some senior party leaders. After the visit of Soz, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also visited Rajouri district and addressed an impressive public meeting in the Darhal Assembly segment, which is considered to be the citadel of the opposition PDP, because the sitting MLA of this segment belongs to the PDP. Provincial president of the National Conference Devender Singh Rana along with Minister for Planning Ajay Sadhotra also visited Rajouri a couple of days back. President of the PDP Mehbooba Mufti is also visiting Rajouri district from December 17. During her three-day visit, she would address series of public meetings in different Assembly segments of Rajouri districts in support of party candidate for the Jammu-Poonch Lok Sabha seat Yash Pal Sharma. In the Poonch-Rajouri belt, which was once plagued with militacy, the NC, Congress and PDP have equal stakes as out of the total seven Assembly segments in the two districts, these parties won three, two and two seats, respectively, in the last Assembly elections held in 2008. Leaders visiting twin border districts The ruling National Conference, its coalition partner Congress and main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have devised strategies to make inroads into the hilly belt, comprising of seven Assembly segments First time after his appointment as Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) chief, Saifuddin Soz conducted an extensive tour of all the Assembly segments of this belt in the last week of November After the visit of Soz, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also visited Rajouri district and addressed an impressive public meeting in the Darhal Assembly segment Provincial president of the National Conference Devender Singh Rana along with Minister for Planning Ajay Sadhotra also visited Rajouri a couple of days back President of the PDP Mehbooba Mufti is also visiting Rajouri district from December 17