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Press Trust of India, PTI
New Delhi, January 08, 2003
Disapproving arguments that the Chief Minister should be from Jammu or Kashmir, the leader of Democratic People's Forum (DPF) M Y Tarigami said "anybody belonging to the state can head the government." On the issue of rotational Chief Ministership, he said "there are roadblocks and if these can be removed by evolving such a formula, then there can be no objection to it".

Asked whether the DPF would join government, the CPI(M) leader said this issue could be decided later. "We want a government in place first".

To another question whether there was fear among the DPF about their non-inclusion in the government, Tarigami said "there is no fear of being kept out (of government). Most of the fear is that of uncertainty."

Delving on the CMP, Tarigami said it should include a mechanism to "discipline" the law enforcing agencies, tackle the "big problem" of unemployment and ensure preservation of civil rights of the people.

He also advocated devolution of powers to the three regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh to alleviate the feeling of disillusionment there as the issue of more powers to the state could "not be wished away".

"Autonomy is not National Conference's agenda. It reflects the aspirations of the people," he said.

"Those who do not want to agree with us within the limits of democracy, should be allowed to have their say," Tarigami added.

Regretting that the issue of Chief Ministership had delayed government formation in Jammu and Kashmir, he said the people had given a mandate for a "coalition for good and transparent governance" of the militancy-torn state and "not for Governor's Rule".

M Y Tarigami, leader of DPF which has seven MLAs, also emphasised that small groups be consulted while framing the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) which should meet the aspirations of the people.

"There is a historic opportunity before us and we should not let it go waste, the veteran CPI(M) leader told reporters here.

Regretting that "uncertainty has unnecessarily been created over the government formation which is not good for the troubled state," he said "it is unfortunate that a non-issue like who will become Chief Minister has come up."

Tarigami, who is meeting top Congress leadership here, said all-out efforts should be made to iron out differences to help install a government at the earliest.

"Congress and PDP must move responsibly," he said, adding the main thrust should be on providing good governance by a "transparent government which is accountable to the people."

"Good governance will be a big step towards resolution of the vexed problem," he said, adding "it is not easy as there are a lot of vested interests around."