People Will Ignore Seperatists Poll Boycott Call: Soz

30 March 2009
The Hindu

Jammu: Confident that the people of Jammu and Kashmir will vote in larger numbers during the Lok Sabha polls, Union Minister Saif-ud-din Soz on Monday hoped that they will ignore the boycott call given by the seperatists. 'The separatists should have taken cue from the recent elections that their slogans of boycott have not in any way made an impact on the people in the state, especially in the valley. They cannot be dissuaded from exercising their franchise in the Lok Sabha elections,' said Soz reacting to hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani's call for mass boycott of Lok Sabha elections. 'They cannot gain anything from negative politics and should play positive politics to take the people forward in this border state,' said Soz, who is also the Pradesh Congress Committee president. 'We have already set up a joint election campaign coordination committee with the National Conference,' Soz said adding that Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, party General Secretary Rahul Gandhi and other NC leaders will address rallies in the state. The Water Resources minister said discussions are on with coalition partner NC to expand the council of ministers in Jammu and Kashmir. Unlike at the centre where only 15 per cent of the total members of parliament are inducted in the ministry, he said in Jammu and Kashmir there is a provision to induct 20 per cent in the ministry from both the houses.