Cong faces ‘Third Front’ threat

In what can prove a major setback for the electoral prospects of Congress, the Third Front, a coalition of independent candidates and smaller parties, has decided to field candidates against the party.
The party was trying to woo the Third Front leaders- who have cobbled a coalition under the banner of Awami Mutahida Mahaz (AMM) – by offering that it will not field candidates against them.
The AMM leaders against whom the party had earlier announced that it will not field the candidates include People’s Democratic Front (PDF) , chairman and MLA Khansahib, Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen, CPI(M) State Secretary and MLA Kulgam, Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami, and President of Democratic Party Nationalist (DPN) and MLA Gulmarg, Ghulam Hassan Mir.
Earlier in August, senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad, met PDF chairman, Hakim Yasin, to garner his support for the party.
Azad had sought PDF’s support in the upcoming polls during the meeting.
Senior leader of AMM, Hakeem Yaseen, said, “We have decided that parties which are part of the AMM will field the candidates on different assembly seats. In case there is a candidate from Congress on a particular seat we will contest against him.”
He said AMM is holding the meeting shortly and some independent leaders will also join the Third Front.
The Awami Itihad Party (AIP) headed by Engineer Rashid is also part of AMM.
The Third Front holds a significant stake in the assembly elections and is trying to broaden as a “coalition of independent candidates’’ and their support will be crucial in case of hung verdict in the polls.
Congress has been running into a sort of a tacit alliance with the parties which are part of the AMM.
In 2008 elections, the party didn’t field the candidates against, Tarigami, Yaseen, and Mir, even as it contested against the NC and the PDP leaders including Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, former Union Minister, Farooq Abdullah, PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and party’s President, Mehbooba Mufti.
DPN leader Mir fought a tough contest against both PDP and NC on the Gulmarg seat. In 2008 elections, Mir defeated senior NC leader, Mustafa Kamal, with a huge margin of votes.
Both the NC and PDP contested against Hakeem Yaseen in last elections and he got 41 percent votes in Khansaheb assembly segment in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district.
MLA Kulgam, M Y Tarigami, who has been winning the seat consecutively in the last three elections, faced a keen contest from the PDP’s Nazir Ahmad Laway. In last elections NC fielded Safder Ali Khan against Tarigami who got 5792 votes.

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