Azad Backs Omar As Full-term CM29 January 2011
Jammu: Asking separatist leaders to talk to the interlocutors appointed by Government of India, Union Health Minister and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad Saturday set all speculations about rotation of Chief Minister in the State to rest by disclosing that Omar Abdullah will head the coalition government for full term. “I don’t think there should be rotation of Chief Minister in the State. Rotation of CM was decided in 2002 between Congress and PDP and that is why we had rotation in 2005. As far as 2008 is concerned, it was not decided to have rotational CM in the state,” Azad said while addressing a press conference here. He said Congress has decided that Omar Abdullah will be chief minister for full term of six years. On dialogue with separatists, Azad said, “New Delhi is not complacent on Kashmir. It has always taken major initiatives to find a solution through meaningful dialogue. Earlier, round table conferences were organized and now interlocutors are there, who are looking forward for talk to Hurriyat. Hurriyat too should cease the opportunity and talk to interlocutors”. Asked about the conditions set by separatists and UJC Chairman for starting dialogue process with Government of India (GoI), Azad said, “If GoI is stepping forward, why are not the separatists and UJC chairman.” “If separatists did not shun their strategy of not-to-talk, the dialogue process initiated by New Delhi on Kashmir by sending interlocutors will go unidirectional. They (separatists) should bring flexibility in their attitude and if they do not talk to Prime Minister, interlocutors or Chief Minister, then the dialogue process is meaningless and directionless,” he said. Terming the 2010 summer unrest in Kashmir as most unfortunate, the former Chief Minister said, “Kashmir is not merely a political problem but has economic dimensions associated with it. It is also an economic issue. All the three regions of the state have different problems, issues and aspirations. That needs to be governed”. On drive against corruption, Azad said, “When I was the CM of J&K, I had passed an anti-corruption bill in the assembly, which later became a law. By using the law, we had confiscated properties of 25 corrupt officials. But, once I left the state as CM, the law too went to oblivion”. Linking corruption with the deadly disease of cancer, he said corruption was in fact more dangerous to society than cancer.