January 2005 News

'Third Front' in Jammu and Kashmir

4 January 2005
The Hindu
Shujaat Bukhari

Srinagar: Political equations have started changing in Jammu and Kashmir much before the transfer of power to a Congress-nominated Chief Minister scheduled to take place in November 2005 . The State Revenue Minister, Hakim Mohammad Yasin, is leading a new group of legislators and has given it the name of 'Third Front.' Even as no one, except that of the National Conference rebel Dillawar Mir, have come forward, Mr. Yasin said it would be a 'vibrant front' comprising like-minded people. The CPI (M) state secretary, who is leading a two-member group in the Assembly, would reportedly join the new front. Mr. Yasin is presently banking upon the fragile structure of the People's Democratic Forum (PDF) which came into existence soon after the 2002 election results were announced and had 11 Independent MLA's, besides CPI (M) legislators as its members. However, it was split last year with the Forest Minister, Mohiuddin Sofi, heading one faction while four others formally joined the Congress. Without giving details of the structure of the new front, Mr. Yasin said it would not destabilise the Mufti-led coalition Government. 'Our proposed Front is not an attempt to de- stabilise the coalition regime,' he said. 'Our group will work outside the Government to highlight issues pertaining to the common masses,' he added. Defending his being a Minister in the coalition Government, Mr. Yasin said working in the Government was an administrative issue that had nothing to do with politics. However, observers say it is aimed at power bargaining when Mr. Sayeed would hand over power to the Congress after completing three years in office. Though many of the 'like-minded' Ministers are facing allegations of corruption Mr Yasin said 'corruption in the administration, unemployment and human rights abuse are some of the issues which require immediate attention.' Being politicians we have to play a role outside the Government, he added.The Congress which is the largest party in the coalition government has strongly reacted to Mr Yasin's move. Its senior vice-president Abdul Gani Vakil asked him to first resign as Minister and then talk of floating a new front. 'The PDP, however, has not reacted to the development.


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