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HindustanTimes Wed,17 Sep 2014

Congress explores tie-up with old ally to fight J&K assembly polls

Peerzada Ashiq, Hindustan Times  Srinagar, July 06, 2014
First Published: 00:46 IST(6/7/2014) | Last Updated: 00:54 IST(6/7/2014)

The Congress may have decided to fight the upcoming elections in Jammu & Kashmir without any allies, but the on-ground activity suggests otherwise.

The grand old party is making overtures to once-estranged coalition partner, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), but not with success.

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad has already met PDP president Mehbooba Mufti in Delhi and PDP patron Mufti Md Sayeed in Srinagar in June. But not much came out of these meetings. 

Sources say the PDP is confident of getting a majority on its own in the October election. “Any pre-poll alliance will be like inviting all the negativity earned by the Congress-National Conference (NC) combine in the past six years,” said a PDP leader.

Azad seems to have failed to pull from the PDP even a last concession in Jammu: not to field a Muslim candidate against him. The PDP recently announced Mehbooba Iqbal as its candidate from Azad’s home constituency, Bhaderwah.

However, the party has kept the post-poll alliance option open as it would like to take “representatives from Jammu along in its government”, said the PDP leader.

The Congress’ relations with Omar Abdullah’s party had soured after Azad’s stinging remarks on the way the NC handled the unrest in 2010.

Sources, however, said that Omar and Rahul Gandhi are still toying with the idea of a joint front, even though the rank and file of both parties is opposed to the idea.


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