NC not averse to supporting independents: Farooq
In a significant turn of events aimed at breaking the logjam in J&K, the NC said it was not averse to supporting a government led by a group of independents. The sudden turn came when the PDF comprising six independent MLAs and two CPI-M legislators claimed the support of six more independent MLAs and sought "outside" support of the 28-member National Conference in forming the government.india Updated: Oct 17, 2002 17:59 IST
In a significant turn of events aimed at breaking the logjam in Jammu and Kashmir, National Conference today said it was not averse to supporting a government led by a group of independents.
The sudden turn came when the People's Democratic Forum comprising six independent MLAs and two CPI-M legislators claimed the support of six more independent MLAs and sought "outside" support of the 28-member National Conference in forming the government.
Ghulam Mohi-ud-din Sofi, a rebel Hurriyat leader who successfully contested from Handwara constituency as an independent, said that they were not averse to seeking outside support of NC in view of the "rigid stand" taken by Congress and PDP on government formation.
Reacting to the PDF plea, caretaker Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah said his party was not averse to supporting a group of independents to form a government.
Meanwhile, Abdullah met Governor G C Saxena and conveyed to him that he would not like to continue as Chief Minister on moral grounds beyond today when the tenure of the outgoing assembly expires.
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee called Abdullah over phone shortly after his meeting with the Governor and asked him to continue as Chief Minister as otherwise there could be a constitutional crisis in the state.
Asked what was the governor's response, Abdullah said "I am waiting for a communication from him."
Aaya Ram, Gaya Ram
To a question whether he was closing the options for the Governor to impose President's rule, Abdullah asked "Isn't there a constitutional crisis already."
"No single party has the mandate and I feel any government cobbled by alliances will only be 'Aaya Ram, Gaya Ram'".
Without naming Mufti Mohammed Sayeed's People Democratic Party, Abdullah said some political parties were regionalising the issue of chief ministership and the woes of the people had been put on the back-burner by them.
"I regret to say that all those who were making tall promises about doing something for the people are now fighting over the issue of chief ministership," Abdullah said.
He said Pakistan was continuing with its agenda but there was no government in place in the state to counter it.
Asked whether National Conference would stake its claim to form the government, he said this question should be asked to the party president Omar Abdullah.
Replying to a question whether he wanted to become chief minister again, Abdullah said "I am not like those who want to be glued to their chair till their death. I will return one day with a thumping majority and everyone will be surprised."
Abdullah said at this point of time he did not want to share the burden of chief ministership. "Let someone of these people come to this chair and see for themselves how old one gets after sitting on this chair."
"While sitting on the (chief minister's) chair, I get the boot from everyone - people, media and others. No one looks from where the state was brought back to the road," Abdullah said.
Education was an area which was affected by militancy. "Today, Kashmir University has managed to get an excellent certificate from the UGC," he said.
To a question about the stand taken by him on the autonomy and converting Line of Control into International Border, he said "Farooq Abdullah's stand does not change if power is lost. I maintain my earlier stand."
Asked what message he had for the PDP and the Congress, Abdullah said "Woh jaldi jaldi sarkar banaye (let them make government quickly), and share some responsibility." "Forget your differences and work for the betterment of the people," he said.
About his meeting with senior PDP leader Muzzafar Hussain Beig, Abdullah said "I felt proud of this man that despite having sharp differences with my party, he came and sought my guidance. I wished him best of luck for all his endeavours."
"I have no moral right to continue as CM after midnight"
Farooq Abdullah today also met Governor G C Saxena and conveyed to him that he had no moral right to continue as chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir after midnight tonight.
"I have conveyed to the Governor that I cannot morally continue as Chief Minister after midnight tonight," Abdullah told reporters at a hurriedly called press conference.
Asked whether he was pushing the Governor to the wall as he had extended time till October 21 for all political parties for formation of the next government, Abdullah said "I did what my conscience told me to do."
"After all, everyone has been saying that I want to be glued to the seat of power. Now when I am taking a moral stand, have I to be held responsible again," an emotional Abdullah said.
First Published: Oct 17, 2002 17:02 IST