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Farooq, Soz likely to get Rajya Sabha seats

January 27, 2009 09:09 IST

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Farooq Abdullah [Images], former chief minister and National Conference president, and Saifudin Soz, Union minister for water resources, are likely to get elected to the Rajya Sabha from Jammu & Kashmir.

The election is scheduled for February 13. Their names have reportedly been cleared by the coalition government of the NC and the Congress.

However, according to Congress sources, former chief minister Ghulam [Images] Nabi Azad is likely to contest the Lok Sabha seat from Udhampur-Doda in view of his popularity in the region and has been ruled out as a Rajya Sabha candidate.

Azad and Abdullah were elected to the J&K assembly in the recent elections. Abdullah, who won from two seats, has since resigned from Hazratbal. Azad won from Bhaderwah.

Four Rajya Sabha seats from the state have been vacant since November with the retirement of Trilok Singh Bajwa (Peoples' Democratic Party) on November 25 and of Abdullah, Soz and Chowdhary Mohammad Aslam (of the Congress) on November 29.

Both NC and the Congress are strong claimants for the third Rajya Sabha seat, which is likely to be bagged by the candidate belonging to the ruling coalition. Of the four seats, the ruling coalition, which has a strength of 45 in the 87-member assembly, is likely to win three.

According to the division of the Electoral College, the fourth seat would witness a keen contest and chances of the PDP candidate winning were pretty high. The PDP has 21 seats in the Assembly.

Although the NC has denied that it is considering supporting Kingfisher Airline owner Vijay Mallya [Images] for the Rajya Sabha, sources said Mallya had indeed tried to lobby with Abdullah.

According to Arun Jaitley, the leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the party would support a "political leader and not an industrialist". His said the party did not have any problem in supporting even a PDP candidate as against non-political persons.

"We may differ with the PDP on all issues but it is better to support its candidate than an outsider who is trying to get into the system without any political ideology," Jaitley said, referring to Mallya's attempts to get elected to the Rajya Sabha from J&K.

The BJP has 11 members in the assembly.



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