Azad, Soz Hand In Glove: Sham

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Says Can’t Predict Cong-NC Tie-Up For 2014

SRINAGAR: Downplaying reports of factionalism in the party, a senior Congress leader on Friday said that a pre-poll tie-up with National Conference “could not be predicted” at this stage, but would be decided only by the high command in New Delhi.

“It is not our prerogative,” minister for public health engineering and irrigation, Sham Lal Sharma said. “Such decisions are taken by the party high command.”

“No one can make predictions about this much-talked-about alliance. It can be decided by the high command before elections, in consultation with state leaders,” he said.

With a significant cabinet reshuffle recently, the coalition government has already gone into election mode for the 2014 hustings, even though some NC leaders too have voiced scepticism over fighting the assembly polls jointly.

Facing reports that some Congress members were unhappy and upset over the recent cabinet reshuffle which shunted some out and shifted others’ portfolios, Sharma said: “No leader expressed displeasure at the party high command (for making the changes).”         

“Everyone accepted the high command’s decision whole-heartedly,” he said. “No doubt, some supporters of a few leaders showed resentment, but that is natural.”

Though Sharma did not name the leaders, he was at pains to convey that the state Congress chief, Prof Saifuddin Soz, and  union health minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad, were working jointly to strengthen the party.

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