Congress party's internal bickering continued in Kashmir even on the 21st death anniversary of Indira Gandhi on Monday with the lower rung leadership throwing its weight behind JKPCC president Saifuddin Soz, who has flew to New Delhi to hold deliberations with Congress president Sonia Gandhi over the issues of AFSPA and rotation of chief ministership.
Days after senior state Congress minister Taj Mohiudddin and Soz's differences surfaced, second rung leadership met at Srinagar's party headquarters on Monday to commemorate 21st death anniversary of Indira Gandhi.
"We appreciate the role of leaders and prominent workers from all the three regions for their whole hearted support to Soz for strengthening the part in J-K," said Congress vice president Muzaffar Parray.
The issue of AFSPA and CM rotationship has two senior Congress leaders, Soz and Mohiuddin, coming up with divergent statements. While Mohiuddin claims chief minister Omar Abdullah consulted him on AFSPA and assures that the CM will stay for next three years, Soz said the party was never consulted. At a public rally last week, Soz was even projected as chief ministerial candidate by the Congress.
There is a turf war going on within the Congress now. To assert himself, Soz has called for coalition coordination committee meeting to discuss various issues. The upcoming coalition committee meeting will not discuss the issue of AFSPA.
"The party is supreme and no one is above the party. Soz is repository of faith as he represents rank and file. Any statement or stand made public by Soz after consultation with Sonia ji will be backed by all," said Parray.
The Congress lower rung leadership's support came on a day when Union home minister P Chidambarm backed Abdullah's announcement on removal of AFSPA saying "the discussion over the subject was on in the Cabinet Committee of Security for long now".
Mohiuddin's statement favouring CM Abdullah is seen as him getting closer to the ruling National Conference. "Mohiuddin should know that he is seen in the public as a person who promotes National Conference at the cost of Congress party. He is also seen as a person who enjoys the public perception of being more loyal than the king, rather impetuously. It is for him to decide whether he would be morally right to continue in the Congress," said Parray on Sunday.
The bickering has now reached to Delhi with Soz camping there and planning to take up the issue with Sonia Gandhi.