Jammu, March 19 IANS | 8 months ago

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Wednesday expressed concern over the delay in the announcement of Congress candidates for the Lok Sabha polls in the state.

"I'm keenly waiting for the Congress to announce its candidates from J&K so we can begin the campaign in right earnest," Abdullah said on Twitter.

As per the alliance between the Congress and the regional National Conference, the former will contest from Jammu, Udhampur and Ladakh and leave the remaining three seats for the latter.

Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, according to top party sources, is still undecided on standing from Udhampur.

Udhampur was represented in the 15th Lok Sabha by the Congress' Chowdhary Lal Singh, who is generally believed to be fielded again by the party.

Sources in New Delhi told IANS the party high command is likely to announce the Congress candidates on Wednesday and pressure is mounting on Azad to throw his hat into the electoral ring for the Udhampur seat.

The increasing BJP influence in the Hindu dominated Jammu region is believed to have forced a re-think on the choice of candidates for the Congress high command, especially for the Udhampur seat.

Azad has strong pockets of influence in the three districts of Chenab Valley in Jammu region, forming the assembly segments for the Udhampur constituency.

These are Kishtwar, Doda and Reasi where Azad is seen as having done a lot of developmental work during his tenure as the state chief minister and also as the union minister.

Azad belongs to Balissa village in Bhaderwah tehsil of Kishtwar district.

(Posted on 19-03-2014)

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