Accession Final:M L Fotedar13 June 2011
Srinagar: Contending National Conference’s “conditional accession” remark, senior Congress leader and close confidante of Gandhi family, Makhan Lal Fotedar, Monday said that accession of Jammu and Kashmir with India is unconditional and final. “The accession of JK is final. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was not even born when it was signed,” Fotedar told reporters on the sidelines of a function organized at state Congress headquarters here. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and other National Conference leaders have been often saying that accession is conditional. On Union Home Minister, P Chidambaram’s last year’s statement that Kashmir was a ‘unique problem’ and needed ‘unique solution’, the veteran Congress leader said, “He (Chidambaram) speaks good English, but has no knowledge about Kashmir.” Admitting that there are grievances of “injustice and discrimination” in the state Congress leadership and cadres against the ruling coalition partner National Conference, Fotedar said, “These can be redressed amicably.' Fotedar said there were no differences between NC and Congress over cabinet reshuffle and expansion. “There are no contradictions between us and these things will be sorted out. Time will come when it will happen,” he said, adding that Omar Abdullah has to consult Congress high command for taking a decision over it. About factionalism in state Congress, Fotedar said action would be initiated at an appropriate time against party men violating discipline. “The factions are created by vested interests and there is presence of these elements in the party. Those who call themselves Congressmen have to abide by the decisions of the high command,” he said. Describing separatists as his friends, Fotedar said that they had been in touch with him long back. “It is all about poverty and unemployment,” he said in reply to a question about Congress stand on Kashmir issue. Fotedar, who has served both in state and union cabinet, described former Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir as ‘golden era in the history of the state.’ He also asserted that Kashmir would have been resolved had Mufti Muhammad Sayeed been allowed to continue as Chief Minister in 2005 by Congress high command. “The decision was changed at last minute. Even Congress Working Committee had passed resolution for his continuance. Kashmir issue would have ceased to exist had he been allowed. There was demand of opening Rawalpindi Road from 1947 and Mufti did it with support of Congress. But rush of visiting other side of Kashmir witnessed decline after six months of its start,” he said. Ruling out redrawing of borders, Fotedar said that status quo is the solution to the issue. “The LoC could have been made permanent during Mufti’s reign,” he said. Backing Omar Abdullah for Chief Minister-ship for the full six-year tenure, the former Union Minister said, 'The decision was taken as no alternative was available with the party to take over reins from Omar Abdullah after completion of his term.'