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10 Janpath's intervention resolve deadlock for time being

india Updated: Jan 29, 2014 19:21 IST
Toufiq Rashid

The National Conference (NC)-Congress alliance headed by Omar Abdullah resolved the deadlock on Wednesday over the creation of new administrative units in the state after intervention of the Congress high command and union minister Farooq Abdullah.

Though the senior Abdullah insisted that his son and chief minister Omar was free to take "his own decisions", sources said Farooq had invoked the intervention of 10 Janpath following which Congress party president Sonia Gandhi directed her party colleagues to "extend support to the Omar-led government".

"I have not spoken to anybody. The decision is entirely Omar's," Farooq told Hindustan Times.

The formation of new administrative unit is leading to an increasingly strained relationship between the two coalition partners- the Congress and National Conference (NC) - in the Jammu and Kashmir government. The coalition was on the brink of a split as Abdullah had threatened to resign.

Sources in the party say that Farooq asked Omar to continue in office even as a certain section of the party insisted on quitting the coalition post the Pathribal verdict.

"Going with the Congress is like going with a sinking ship. We don't even mind early elections. Let the state go to polls with Lok Sabha elections only," a senior NC leader said.

Sources, however, said the matter was resolved after a late evening meeting at the residence of Congress general secretary and in-charge of party's Kashmir affairs, Ambika Soni, on Tuesday.

After the meeting between chief minister Omar and Congress senior leaders Ambika Soni, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Prof Soz on Monday failed to reach any consensus, the Congress High command had asked the Kashmir unit of the party to hold a preliminary meeting with the state Congress ministers, which included deputy chief minister Tara Chand, Nawang Rigzin Jora, Ghulam Ahmad Mir and Sham Lal Sharma.
The meeting was also attended by Azad and Soz.

The deadlock was finally resolved after the sub-committee members were asked to submit their report to the Cabinet, recommending over 2,000 new administrative units in the state, against the 700 proposed earlier.

The state Congress leaders had been terming the move "politically motivated as it would benefit only the NC in the Valley and damage the political base of the Congress in the Jammu region".

Omar had walked out of the cabinet sub-committee meeting here on January 24 after its Congress members told him the report was still not ready.

The Cabinet meeting was re-scheduled for February 1, without conducting any other business, as Omar insisted to go ahead with the creation of new administrative units across the state at "any cost".

"We can take any decision on February 1, if our demands are not met," said an NC leader who did not want to be named.