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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Congress, NC relations get wobbly in Jammu and Kashmir

Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 13, 2013
First Published: 00:22 IST(13/2/2013) | Last Updated: 00:24 IST(13/2/2013)

The first signs of discord between ruling coalition partners in Jammu and Kashmir on the execution of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru have emerged, with senior National Conference (NC) leader Mehboob Beg accusing the Congress-led UPA government of making his party "politically impotent".

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The statement from Lok Sabha MP from Anantnag in Kashmir came close on the heels of his party leader and chief minister Omar Abdullah slamming the Centre over its decision to hang Guru without informing his family.

NC president and Union minister Farooq Abdullah had said on Monday that he was sad about the Guru episode, but would live with it for the sake of national unity. However, the nervousness among his party leaders was palpable.

"We have been repeatedly requesting the Centre to commute Guru's death penalty to life imprisonment. But it preferred to make Kashmir a laboratory for its experiment," Beg said.

When contacted, many senior NC leaders said it would be difficult for them to explain the reason for continuing the alliance with the Congress to the public. They are also worried that the Peoples Democratic Party may benefit from the resultant anger.

Earlier, NC leaders wanted to forge a pre-poll alliance with the Congress both for the next Lok Sabha and the assembly polls.

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