After the decks were cleared for a NC-Congress government in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday, consensus chief ministerial candidate Omar Abdullah underlined the need for a "middle ground" and termed autonomy "a way forward in resolution" of the Kashmir problem.
"NC believes autonomy is a way forward in resolution of this problem and I do not think why anybody should have serious reservations against it. It's not unconstitutional to talk about it. It's all within the framework of the Constitution," Abdullah said.
"We are not talking about inclusion of Pakistani currency into Kashmir. Autonomy was not a gift from Maharaja. It was something to which Pandit Nehru agreed," he said while admitting "some middle ground could be worked out".
Abdullah, the National Conference president, also announced the party's decision to have a Deputy Chief Minister from Jammu region and promised representation to Kashmiri Pandits in the state cabinet.
"I will be happy to have a Dy CM, preferably from Congress in the cabinet from Jammu. If Congress does not name its candidate, we will have a Dy CM from Jammu from NC," Abdullah said.
The chief ministerial candidate also said that he would try to create an environment for the return of Kashmiri Pandits.
"I have a huge responsibility towards Kashmiri Pandits and I would seek to create an atmosphere in which the displaced Pandits can come back to the valley," he added.
"NC will be nominating Kashmiri Pandits in the Upper House. We (NC and Congress) will get them in the cabinet. This is a large community and requires representation," he said.