J&K Governor gives time till Oct. 21
16 October 2002
SRINAGAR: Giving more time for government formation, the Jammu and Kashmir Governor, Girish Chandra Saxena, today asked the National Conference, the Congress and the People''s Democratic Party (PDP) to come out with the numbers by October 21. The term of the State Assembly is expiring tomorrow. However, the stalemate between the Congress and the PDP over power-sharing continued for the sixth day and the People''s Democratic Forum, third group, appealed to both the parties to sink their differences in the larger interest of the people. In separate communications to the National Conference president, Omar Abdullah, the State Congress president, Ghulam Nabi Azad, and the PDP president, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Mr. Saxena said they should clarify by October 21 whether their parties had the requisite support of 44 members in the 87-member Assembly to stake claim for power. ''His Excellency has, on the request of various leaders, extended the time for government formation and letters have been sent accordingly asking them to meet him along with the duly elected leaders of the Legislative Party at a mutually convenient time on any day before 5 p.m. on October 21 to clarify whether their party has the requisite support among the members of the Assembly to form a stable government,'' a Raj Bhavan communique said. ''Any of the leaders of these parties making such a claim would need to bring along the necessary evidence in their support, including any relevant resolutions of their party, and, or, the legislature party as well as valid letters of support from concerned parties or groups of individual members who have given their clear agreement to join or support the government of their party or a coalition of which their party is a member.'' Earlier in the day, Mr. Azad, also the CLP leader, and the PDF legislature party leader and CPI (M) State secretary, Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami, met Mr. Saxena and sought more time to bring about an agreement on government formation. Mr. Abdullah and Mr. Sayeed also met the Governor. Sources said that after meeting the leaders, Mr. Saxena had a telephonic conversation with the Deputy Prime Minister, L. K. Advani. Mr. Azad told reporters at the Raj Bhavan that he had another round of talks with Mr. Sayeed in the morning and ''both of us agreed to seek further time from the Governor. I conveyed to Mufti saheb that the issue should not revolve around Chief Ministership and that we should instead keep in mind the interests and aspirations of the people... talks will continue and I am hopeful of an agreement.'' Mr. Tarigami said ''if the stalemate continues, Governor''s rule becomes inevitable. (In accordance with the State''s Constitution, the Governor should have assumed power by Thursday). So we have appealed to both the Congress and the PDP to sink their differences... the verdict is a historical opportunity and is not in favour of a particular party but for a change.'' He admitted that his formula, which was for a greater representation to the PDP in the Cabinet and the Chief Minister''s post to the Congress, had not worked. The Jammu and Kashmir Panther''s Party, which has four members in the Assembly, meanwhile, urged the parties to come closer to form a government and keep the National Conference out of power. Its president, Bhim Singh, pledged his party''s support to a Congress- led government. (According to a PTI report, Mr. Singh ruled out support to a PDP-led government, as Mr. Sayeed was opposed to a Chief Minister from the Jammu region).