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LS Polls | Political blitzkrieg on cards in Udhampur

Notification issued; LS seat to go to polls in first phase on April 19 Lal Singh rejoins Congress; all set to be in fray
12:51 AM Mar 21, 2024 IST | SHUCHISMITA
ls polls   political blitzkrieg on cards in udhampur
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Jammu, Mar 20:  Udhampur Lok Sabha constituency, which is going to polls in the first phase of General Elections-2024 on April 19, will witness a political blitzkrieg in anticipation of a triangular contest.

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Indication was very clear as the developments unfolded, on the expected lines, on a day the election notification for the upcoming parliamentary elections in the constituency was issued by the Returning Officer.

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Development related to the "home-coming" of Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan Party (DSSP) supremo and former minister Chowdhary Lal Singh into Congress at the union capital in the presence of senior AICC leaders, including Pawan Khera, Bharatsinh Solanki and Manoj Yadav.

JKPCC president Vikar Rasool along with other J&K unit leaders too was present there.
Officially, Congress has yet to announce his nomination from Udhampur LS seat. However, Singh dropped clear hints that he would be in the fray and "his constituency would witness a battle of nerves"

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Immediately after joining, Singh, while addressing the presser, took a dig at his “political opponent” (read BJP candidate), without naming him and said, “I assure you that my constituency will witness a real political battle.”

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“The person, against whom I'm going to contest, talks of 370 (seats). I'll disturb their calculations of 370 (seats), which also include my constituency. First, they will have to win to reach 370,” was his other dig.

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While joining Congress, he also announced the merger of his DSSP into Congress.
Lal Singh said, “I’ve suffered so much (a reference to the recent past). Just recently I came out of prison. But, I’m not afraid. To contest in J&K is an arduous task. During my chequered political career, I suffered a terror attack also.” While lauding the Congress leadership, mainly Rahul Gandhi, he said that Congress was poised to win. Regarding Art 370, Singh said that it was given by the Constitution of India.

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Vikar Rasool, while welcoming Lal Singh back into party-fold, described him as honest leader, who always fought for people, both outside and inside the Parliament. “He had been our best health minister and as a forest minister, his major achievement is - Jambu zoo. I’m sure, with his return, Congress will strengthen. The party will form government in J&K after assembly elections. In LS polls, I.N.D.I.Alliance will win all six seats in J&K and Ladakh,” he said.

Singh had unsuccessfully contested from Udhampur LS constituency in 2014 and 2019 also. His main contest was with BJP candidate Dr Jitendra Singh, who is sitting MP and is in fray to reclaim seat for the third time.

For both, this will be the third consecutive electoral battle from the same constituencies. In 2014, Lal Singh had left Congress in protest against the party’s decision to give nomination to former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.

He contested as an independent yet got defeated by Dr Jitendra Singh. Later he joined BJP. After leaving BJP (following a short stint there), in 2019, he contested from both Jammu and Udhampur LS seats. He was forced to eat a humble pie from both the places by forfeiting his security deposits even.

Lal Singh represented Congress in Lok Sabha from 2004-2014. He remained MLA from Basohli twice.
In a related development, Returning Officer 4-Udhampur Parliamentary constituency, Dr Rakesh Minhas issued election notification.

As per the notification, nomination papers can be filed by candidates or their proposers at the Returning Officer’s office or Assistant Returning Officer 67-Kathua AC (ACR Kathua) at Deputy Commissioner’s office, Kathua between 11 am to 3 pm on any day (other than public holiday) not later than March 27, 2024.

Scrutiny of the nomination papers will take place on March 28, 2024 and candidates have the option to withdraw their candidature on March 30, 2024 until 3 pm.

There will be no nomination process on March 23, 24 and 25, 2024, due to public holidays on these dates under Negotiable Instrument Act, 1881.

Dr Minhas urged all eligible candidates and stakeholders to adhere to the election schedule and procedures outlined in the election notification. He also appealed for active participation and cooperation of all concerned parties to ensure a fair and transparent election.

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