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HindustanTimes Wed,20 Aug 2014

Amitabh Mattoo set to join Cong

Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 18, 2011
First Published: 00:01 IST(18/2/2011) | Last Updated: 00:02 IST(18/2/2011)

After declining the post of vice-chancellor of Jammu central university on personal grounds, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) professor and noted educationist from Jammu and Kashmir Amitabh Mattoo may soon join the Congress.

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Congress sources said the “modalities and other finer details” of his joining the party formally are being worked out and the announcement could come any time.

Mattoo, a Kashmiri Pandit, had some time ago met Congress president Sonia Gandhi in this regard.

The move will boost the faction-ridden Congress in the state and regain its lost constituency among the Kashmiri Pandits. Mattoo, a recipient of Padma Shri, is also considered close to some moderate Kashmiri separatist leaders.

The state unit — heavily divided among the factions owing allegiance to Jammu and Kashmir Congress president Saifuddin Soz and union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad —is planning Mattoo’s joining ceremony as a major show in Jammu.

Mattoo is likely to be given a key responsibility in the party. Also, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah is soon going to expand his council of ministers and so far, there is no Kashmiri Pandit representation in his cabinet.

When contacted, Soz said: “I have also heard about it from authoritative sources but am yet to hear anything formally from him”.


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