The Congress and the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference announced a pre-poll alliance in the state for the Lok Sabha elections. The polls will be held from April 11 to May 19, and the results announced on May 23.

National Conference President Farooq Abdullah said that the Congress will contest the polls from Jammu and Udhampur constituencies, ANI reported. Abdullah, on the other hand, will be a candidate from the Srinagar constituency.

“There will be a friendly contest between Congress and National Conference for the Anantnag and Baramulla seats,” Abdullah added. “We are also discussing the Ladakh seat.”

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said a “friendly contest” means that there will be no “cut-throat contest” between the Congress and National Conference in Anantnag and Baramulla. “If either party wins, it is a win-win situation for both of us,” he added.

Azad claimed that the alliance has been finalised in “national interest”, to “strengthen secular forces in Jammu and Kashmir”, given that the state faces a threat from Pakistan, PTI reported.

On March 17, National Conference leader and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had said that his party was open to a tie-up with the Congress if it agreed to its seat-sharing formula. “We have received an offer from the Congress, but we are very clear about taking forward any alliance plan only if our candidates are to contest all the Lok Sabha seats in Kashmir,” Abdullah said.

The 2019 General Elections will be held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19, with the results out on May 23. Jammu and Kashmir will vote in five phases, beginning from April 11 till May 6.