No Decision On Pre-poll Alliance With NC: Azad

No Decision On Pre-poll Alliance With NC: Azad

17 June 2013
Greater Kashmir
Abid Bashir

Srinagar: Making it clear that no decision has been taken yet by the Congress high command on pre-poll alliance with National Conference (NC) in J&K, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad Monday admitted that there is difference of opinion within the state unit of the Congress over the issue. He also ruled out formation of Third-Front at the Centre stating that such moves have not survived for more than two years. In his two separate media interactions - at Kheer Bawani temple in Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district and in Srinagar, Azad said no decision has been taken by Congress yet on whether there should be pre-poll alliance with NC in 2014 Parliamentary and state assembly elections. “There is still more than a year left. Assembly elections in J&K are slated for October-November next year. Coalition is running smoothly at present,” Azad said, replying to a query whether Congress would go for pre-poll alliance with NC in 2014 elections. “There are different views in (J&K) Congress as some leaders say we should go jointly while some support going alone. Similar opinions are in the NC camp. But, final decision on the pre-poll alliance is yet to be taken.” He said it is the Congress working committee that would take a final decision about whether there should be any pre-poll alliance with NC. The former J&K Chief Minister, however, said given the changing political scenario across the country, Congress won’t copy other political parties and will instead strengthen the party on its own. Pertinently, All India Congress Committee (AICC) vice-president Rahul Gandi, during his recent visit to Kashmir, while terming the NC-Congress coalition in J&K as “healthy and constructive” stressed that the final decision about pre-poll alliance with NC would be taken by the party high command. “I have my views on the issue (alliance with NC) which I will express to the party high command,” Rahul had said. Responding to a query that Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has hinted towards formation of a Third Front at the Centre, Azad ruled out such possibility saying that whenever a Third-Front was formed, that didn’t survive for more than two years. “We have had third front rule in the past. Once the government lasted two years in 1977 and on another occasion, the Prime Minister had to be changed twice, H D Deve Gowda and I K Gujral, in 18 months. So I don't feel the people of the country would like another phase of uncertainty,' he said. “I believe in next six months, there will be only two fronts-a secular front to be headed by Congress and a non-secular front for some parties,” Azad said. About roping in Bihar Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar into UPA fold, Azad said JDU should have parted ways from BJP 15 years ago. “I don’t know why they had been with the BJP. I know Yadavs since a long time. They have been secular always,” he said. “I congratulate them for parting ways with the BJP. It is better late than never.” On whether the elevation of Narendra Modi would be a threat for UPA, Azad said he (Modi) factor has strengthened the Congress. “His elevation has disintegrated BJP and their allies. Congress has become stronger,” he said. Azad said politics will take a new shape in the coming months. “In last 10 days alone, major changes have occurred. Many parties at the Centre have accepted Congress as a vibrant secular party,” he said. Asked why he was relieved of the charge of AICC General Secretary, Azad said it was he who had recommended to the party high command during the Jaipur convention that general secretaries who are also ministers should either remain ministers or serve the party. “I was the only general secretary with a ministerial portfolio. My recommendations were implemented unanimously. Now general secretaries will serve the party while Ministers will address the problems of people,” he said. At Kheer Bhawani temple, Azad felicitated Kashmiri Pandits and urged them to return to their homeland. “Despite many voices over the past years, Hindu-Muslim and Sikh bonhomie remained intact in Kashmir. Militancy also failed to break it,” he said. “I am glad that some KP youth have returned to Kashmir.” According to a group of Kashmiri Pandit devotees, Azad promised them that he will visit Jagti and Muthi camps in Jammu to take stock of the problems faced by KPs. “He promised us that he will visit us next month,” the KPs told Greater Kashmir.