Cooperate with Omar: Sonia tells PCC

SRINAGAR: The Congress high command has asked the J&K Pradesh Congress Committee to fully cooperate with Chief Minister Omar Abdullah especially on the issue of creation of new administrative units which have of late become a bone of contention between the two coalition partners.

Relations between National Conference and Congress have strained due to differences over creation of new administrative units across the state. The simmering tension between the two coalition partners, sources said, threatens to undermine the electoral interests of the two parties in forthcoming parliament elections–likely to take place in mid April. 

Informed sources, however, said that the Congress president Sonia Gandhi has asked the state Congress leadership to extend full cooperation to its coalition partner in the state. Sources said that after Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Congress leaders Ambika Soni, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Prof Saif-ud-din Soz’s meeting in New Delhi failed to reach any consensus over the creation of new administrative units in the state, Ms Gandhi asked senior Congress leader and union health minister Azad, and PCC chief Soz to hold a preliminary meeting with state Congress ministers.

These state Congress ministers who were called to the meeting include Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, Nawang Rigzin Jora, Ghulam Ahmad Mir and Sham Lal Sharma. Ghulam Hassan Mir has also been called to participate in the meeting. 

While Tara Chand who heads the Cabinet Sub Committee (CSC) on creation of new administrative units was already camped in Delhi, Jora, GA Mir, Sharma and GH Mir flew to the national capital on Tuesday morning, sources added. 

Confirming the meeting Prof Soz said, “We do not want to take any decision on creation of new administrative units in haste. Keeping the sensitivity and the huge demands of the people into consideration, Congress in the state wants to take all the three regions on board before the Cabinet approves the CSC report,” Soz said. 

He however, refuted the reports about any discord between the two coalition partners saying that the coalition government will continue until the last day. “Differences can be there on the matters of principles but we (Congress) believe in an amicable settlement of issues. We will have to go for a thorough analysis of demands put forth by people in all the three regions of the state. It cannot be done superficially,” he added.   

Meanwhile, before leaving for Delhi, Ghulam Ahmad Mir, the minister for tourism told this news agency that Congress was not averse to the creation of new administrative units but the party wants to take the left out areas on board before the cabinet approves the CSC report. 

“NC is desirous to go for creation of new units in haste because the party has made a series of announcements in different areas without bothering for its financial implications,” Mir said, adding that NC wants to take credit for the creation of new administrative units keeping in view the electoral gains in the forthcoming elections.

“There is a misconception that Congress does not want creation of new administrative units but we simply want to go through it after a proper analysis of demands especially coming from the left out areas of the state,” Mir claimed. 

He alleged that the issue has become a point of prestige for the NC and that is why the party (NC) wants the CSC report to be submitted before the cabinet immediately. 

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