Soz, Farooq Mend NC-Cong Fissures In Kashmir4 November 2011
The Hindustan Times
Srinagar: Finally, the ruling National Conference Party and coalition partner Congress' state president Saifuddin Soz seem to have patched up and decided to run the coalition government smoothly in Kashmir. NC president Farooq Abdullah and Soz have put to rest the speculations of change in chief ministership in the state and settled differences between the two ruling coalition partners over the controversy of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). 'Principle of consultation on AFSPA has been accepted (by) all. There should be no controversy on its revocation,' said Soz at a party function in Srinagar's Khmber area on Friday. Soz, who last week accused chief minister Omar Abdullah of unilateralism on the ASFPA issue saying 'the CM did not consult the state Congress party', returned to Kashmir from New Delhi on Thursday after meeting senior Congress leaders and Union ministers Pranab Mukherjee and P Chidambaram. After his return, Soz has stopped tirade against the chief minister over the AFSPA issue. 'It is not necessary that the Congress party here should be consulted if Union defence minister and home minister agree over it (AFSPA),' said Soz. Lately, Soz had started asserting himself as chief ministerial candidate. After his New Delhi visit, Soz has started throwing weight behind the CM's case for removal of the AFSPA from the state. 'The Act is temporary. It has to go. It will go automatically if the Disturbed Areas Act is lifted. I have only made one suggestion that there should be proper consultations,' he added. The diplomatic statements are not only coming from the Congress but also from the ruling partner National Conference. The NC's top brass, both Omar Abdullah and Farooq Abdullah, have regretted the statements made by senior NC leader Mustafa Kamal, who is also brother of Farooq. Kamal had recently launched a tirade against the army and the Congress over the AFSPA and the instrument of accession. Kamal claimed the army was behind the recent grenade blasts in Kashmir and described the 1975 Indira-Sheikh Accord as 'unsigned document'. Regretting the statement of Kamal, Abdullah said: 'His views are not the party views at all'. Repairing the fissures, Union minister for new and renewable energy and NC president Abdullah said, 'My party is committed to running the coalition smoothly. I have highest regards for the Congress leadership particularly the UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi Ji & Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. He said the National Conference values their support to the coalition government'. Abdullah also praised the army saying 'it played a major role in the counter insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir.' 'The security of the country and the chief minister is on record having appreciated the army's role in this regard,' said Abdullah.