Pressure To Field Azad From Udhampur-Doda Mounts

Pressure To Field Azad From Udhampur-Doda Mounts

18 March 2014
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Dinesh Malhotra

Jammu: To mount pressure on the party high command against repeating Choudhary Lal Singh as a candidate from the Udhampur-Doda Lok Sabha seat, Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) chief Saifuddin Soz has reportedly made it clear that he would not sign the mandate if the same was issued in favour of Choudhary Lal Singh. Choudhary Lal Singh, an outspoken Congress leader, is a sitting MP from the Udhampur-Doda segment. He had won elections from the seat two times in a row, but this time the entire Congress leadership is opposing his candidature and demanding that Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad contest from the prestigious seat. Highly placed sources in the Congress said Soz had made it clear to the high command that the entire leadership of the Udhampur-Doda segment was against repeating the sitting Lok Sabha member, so there was no reason to ignore views of the grassroot-level workers. “Soz has bluntly told the high command that he will not endorse the mandate if the same is issued in favour of Choudhary Lal Singh,” the sources said, adding that the JKPCC chief had told the Central leadership that all the Congress legislators of the Udhampur-Doda Lok Sabha segment had written against giving ticket to Lal Singh. Sources said Soz told his loyalists that Lal Singh was on a sticky wicket because the entire organisation was opposing his candidature. So there was no need to support him at this juncture. He had reportedly told his loyalists that only Ghulam Nabi Azad had the capability to retain the prestigious seat so he (Soz) was mounting pressure on the high command to field Azad. Interestingly, the Congress in Jammu and Kashmir is divided and has two factions - one headed by JKPCC chief Saifuddin Soz and other by Azad - but on the issue of the candidate of the Udhampur-Doda Lok Sabha seat all party leaders are united. Meanwhile, AICC secretary in charge J&K Congress Mainual Haque has submitted his report on the Udhampur-Doda Lok Sabha segment. Haque was deputed by the Congress high command to get a feedback from the grassroot-level workers for giving ticket of the Udhampur-Doda Lok Sabha segment. “I cannot disclose what report I have submitted because it is purely an organisational matter,” Haque told The Tribune over phone.