Congress not in favour of change of guard in J&K: Chavan12 July 2010
The Daily Excelsior
NEW DELHI: With normalcy yet to return to Jammu and Kashmir, Congress today indicated it is not in favour of any change of guard in the State and was fully behind Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. 'The situation is tough there and it will be tackled carefully. The Centre is closely watching the situation there. Congress fully backs Omar Abdullah Government in its efforts to bring normalcy there,' AICC general secretary in-charge for Jammu and Kashmir Prithviraj Chavan told reporters here. Chavan, who is also Minister of State in the PMO, said the State Government will get all required support in its initiatives. Asked whether National Conference chief Dr Farooq Abdullah’s meeting with Home Minister P Chidambaram and his visit to the Kashmir valley could be a prelude to his taking over as the State Chief Minister from his son, a senior Congress leader on condition of anonymity said 'there is no question of a change of guard at this moment. He (Farooq Abdullah) had gone to the Valley as the president of his party.' At the AICC briefing, party spokesperson Manish Tewari disapproved of PDP’s decision to stay away from the All-Party Meeting convened by Jammu and Kashmir Government saying the mainstream parties should rise above politics, help restore peace in the State and isolate the separatists. 'Every political party, which considers itself in the mainstream, has to rise above politics and help restore peace and isolate the separatists,' Tewari told reporters here. He said it was incumbent on all political parties wedded to democracy to strengthen the process and 'help isolate the separatists and miscreants'. A senior Congress leader associated with Jammu and Kashmir affairs, however, admitted no substantial outcome can be expected from the All-Party Meeting there as the principal opposition party in the State PDP had stayed away from it. 'We are already in alliance with National Conference and there have been regular meetings between the two earlier also. So, a solution emerging out of the All-Party Meeting can not be expected. BJP which is attending the meeting, do not have much stake in the Valley,' the leader said. He said though any dramatic result is not expected from the meeting, different parties will come up with different ideas to tackle the situation there. The leader also expressed the confidence that normalcy would be back in the Valley. Such situations had arisen in the Valley in the past also,' he said recalling incidents of violence in the Valley during the 2008 Amarnath agitation. Asked whether the decision to call in the Army in the Valley was at the request of the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, the leader said 'it was a joint decision by the State, the Centre and the Unified Command. It’s not that the Centre agrees to send the Army at the drop of a hat.' He also rejected suggestions that there was a mess up of the issue by the State Government. Asked whether Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had called up PDP president Mehbooba Mufti at the request of the Chief Minister, the leader said the PM would have called her on his own as everybody wanted a solution to the unrest there. Meanwhile, on the issue of Army chief Gen V K Singh’s critical comments about the political leadership handling the situation in Jammu and Kashmir Mr Tewari said 'If anyone has to take cognizance, the matter is in the purview of the Government.’’ General Singh had said yesterday that Army and security forces have done a lot of work but the situation has been brought to a particular level when other initiatives should have started to make way for betterment. Asked whether the Army was deployed as a deterrent to curb the violence, he said, 'I think there was a sort of loss of confidence and they thought that Army should be seen more prominently. Probably that is what.’’ However, Congress sources on condition of anonymity said though the Army chief was entitled to have his views and express it in a democracy, it should have been done ‘‘more privately and discretely.’’ Moreover, General Singh’s view is his own and the Government may not agree with it as the situation in Kashmir is not only a security situation but a more complex one, they said. The supremacy of the civilian authority is paramount and there cannot be any compromise on that, they added. (AGENCIES) .