Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | Triangular Fight In The Offing In Udhampur

JAMMU, Apr 3: BJP leader and Union minister Jitendra Singh is seeking to retain the Udhampur seat for the third time while the Congress has pitted Choudhary Lal Singh, who is facing ED heat in a money laundering case.
  The entry of former minister G M Saroori on the ticket of his Democratic Azad Party (DPAP) has made it a three-cornered contest.
Though there are 12 candidates in the fray, the real fight is between the BJP candidate and his Congress rival.
Jitendra Singh had retained the Udhampur Lok Sabha seat in 2019, defeating Congress candidate Vikramaditya Singh, the grandson of erstwhile Maharaja Hari Singh, by a margin of 3,53,272 votes. Lal Singh only got 19,049 votes.
In 2014, Jitendra Singh had defeated former Union minister Ghulam Nabi Azad from the Lok Sabha seat by a margin of 60,976 votes. He was inducted in the Modi Government as the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office.
Lal Singh, who rejoined Congress on March 20, had won the Udhampur seat twice on the party ticket in 2004 and 2009, besides being a three-time former MLA. He switched from the Congress to the BJP in 2014 and was also a Minister in the previous PDP-BJP Government in Jammu and Kashmir that collapsed in June 2018 after the national party pulled out of the alliance.
Several months before the Government’s fall, Lal Singh resigned from the BJP and floated his own outfit following an uproar over his participation in a rally in support of the accused in a rape-and-murder case of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua in January 2018.
However, he defended his participation in the rally, stating he was there to “defuse the situation”.
On November 7 last year, Lal Singh was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a money laundering case against an educational trust run by his wife. However, he was released on bail three weeks later.
Saroori, vice chairman of Ghulam Nabi Azad-led DPAP, is a former J-K minister who had won Inderwal assembly constituency in Kishtwar thrice between 2002 and 2014. He was the vice president of the Congress before leaving the party to side with Azad who floated his party in September 2022 after ending five-decade long association with the national party.
Polling will be held in the seat in Jammu and Kashmir in the first phase on April 19, officials said.
A total of 2,637 polling stations will be set up for the voters across the constituency which is spread over five districts of Kishtwar, Doda, Ramban, Udhampur and Kathua, the officials said.
The seat has 16,23,195 registered voters — 8,45,283 men, 7,77,899 women and 13 transgender persons.
While there are over 23,637 Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), the seat has 25,632 voters above the age of 80 years. (Agencies)