Positive signal to NC
11 July 2000
New Delhi: The spontaneous decision of the Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, to attend the funeral of Begum Akbar Jehan Abdullah, mother of Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, was prompted by a desire to send a positive signal to the National Conference leaders and cadre, according to officials dealing with the affairs in the troubled State. For one thing, it would be some time before the National Conference national executive can resume its deliberations on the future of the party''s ties with the ruling National Democratic Alliance. The intervening time, it is hoped, will help soothe the ruffled pride among the National Conference cadre over the outright rejection by the Vajpayee Government of the autonomy resolution. The presence of the Prime Minister and two other senior Ministers - the Home Minister, Mr. L. K. Advani, and the Defence Minister, Mr. George Fernandes - at the Begum''s funeral should take out the note of personal animus that seems to have crept into the ties between leaders of the NC and the NDA. That the late Begum was the patron of the National Conference and that the Prime Minister came to pay his last respects to her should dent the sense of hostility among the NC cadre towards the Central Government. It is hoped that it would be noted in Jammu and Kashmir that everybody from the President and the Vice-President to other political leaders has shared Dr. Abdullah''s sense of loss.