Tuesday is the day of reckoning for the Congress that has to formally decide whether to press ahead in backing a National Conference government or consider the PDP’s offer of unconditional support in propping up Union Minister Saifuddin Soz as chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Congress Core Committee, which includes Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, will meet on Tuesday to formalize the stand.
Even as the dominant view of the party veers towards the NC, former CM Ghulam Nabi Azad (a votary of a tie-up with the NC) and Soz, state unit chief, met Sonia on Monday amid indications that NC’s Omar Abdullah would seek the party’s support in government formation.
“I’m likely to meet the Congress president tomorrow,’’ said Abdullah. “The NC has got very positive signals from the Congress. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have come to Delhi,’’ he said, adding, “We’ll talk about formation of a coalition and if the talks succeed then probably within two or three days, an announcement will be possible.” he said.
There was no indication whether the Congress, if it decides to back him, would participate in government or extend support from outside. But with the PDP formally conveying its offer of backing a Congress CM, the Congress leadership will have to discuss and decide on it. Since the Congress’s share of seats and voting percentage showed a decline in the polls, the acceptance of the offer would be construed as a gross violation of the mandate, said a leader who didn’t want to be named.
Unlike a NC-Congress tie-up, the PDP and Congress would need additional numbers for a simple majority in the 87-member assembly.