The Udhampur Lok Sabha constituency happened to be the Congress bastion till 1996, when BJP's Chaman Lal Gupta, a former Union minister, managed to win it and retain it in 1998 and 1999 elections
New Delhi: It's battle Royale in Jammu's Udhampur as both the BJP and the Congress have fielded strong Rajput candidates to win this high-profile seat.
BJP is once again relying on sitting MP and Union minister Jitendra Singh who defeated senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad by nearly 60,000 votes. Taking no chance, the grand old party has placed forward Vikramaditya Singh, a Rajput and the grandson of Hari Singh, the last Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, from the Udhampur seat. The National Conference has extended support to the Congress on this seat, while the PDP has fielded no candidate to keep "secular votes" undivided.
The Udhampur-Doda constituency will see four Rajputs - Jitendra Singh of BJP, Vikramaditya Singh of Congress, DSS founder Choudhary Lal Singh and Harsh Dev Singh of Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP) - fight it out, but the primary battle is expected between the BJP and Congress contenders.
The Udhampur Lok Sabha constituency happened to be the Congress bastion till 1996, when BJP's Chaman Lal Gupta, a former Union minister, managed to win it and retain it in 1998 and 1999 elections. He, however, lost it in 2004 to Choudhary Lal Singh of the Congress, who retained it 2009 as well.
Chaudhary Lal Singh, however, was denied ticket by the Congress in 2004 after which he joined the BJP and subsequently became a minister the state BJP-PDP government.
He founded the DSS last year, a few months after quitting the state government with another BJP minister facing flak for taking part in a rally in support of an accused in the rape and murder of a minor girl in Kathua district.
Lal Singh is also fighting elections from Jammu, making the fray for the two seats tight for the contestants.
Udhampur is one of the constituencies in six-seat Jammu & Kashmir. At the time of the previous Lok Sabha elections in 2014, Udhampur had 1,490,244 registered electors – 798,910 male and 691,334 female. The constituency had seen a 69.91% voter turnout in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. In Udhampur the male voter turnout was 69.81% and 70.01% female voters turned out for voting.
Last Updated 11:56 AM IST