Autonomy Closed Chapter: Fotedar

Autonomy Closed Chapter: Fotedar

18 June 2013
The Daily Excelsior


Srinagar: Senior Congress leader and Congress Working Committee (CWC) member Makhan Lal Fotedar today said that the chapter of autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir was closed in 1975 and accused National Conference of raising the issue during elections and when the party is out of power. While interacting with the media persons at Congress headquarters here, Fotedar said that National Conference is itself responsible for the erosion of autonomy since they have entered into an agreement with Central Government by accepting the post-1953 position in 1975 accord in lieu of the power. Ridiculing the allegation of National Conference Additional General Secretary Dr Mustafa Kamal against Congress party for eroding autonomy of the State, Fotedar said that Kamal must ask his own party senior leadership as who actually is responsible for the erosion of autonomy. “I was also key players during parleys between Centre and National Conference leaders like Mirza Mohammad Afzal Beg and Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah on 1975 Indira-Abdullah accord. I was appointed by Indira Gandhi as a point man. The Centre Government agreed that Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah can call himself as Prime Minister of the State in 1975,” Fotedar revealed. “However, it was made clear to Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah that any communication from New Delhi will address him as Chief Minister and not Prime Minister”, said Fotedar adding: “Sheikh accepted it and decided that in Jammu and Kashmir he will also be called as Chief Minister. These issues had been settled already and there is no scope for going back into history and changing the present status.” When asked that National Conference leadership is repeatedly alleging that Congress party is directly responsible for eroding the autonomy, he said: “It is only Dr Mustafa Kamal who says such things. No other NC leader says this. When elections are nearer and when they are out of power, they talk of autonomy. Today they are talking of autonomy, tomorrow, they will talk Azadi. Is it possible? This chapter is over after 1975 accord”. He also said that 1975 accord has closed all chapters of discussion on the issue and if National Conference is talking about its restoration, nothing will happen. “These are mere statements. They have no scope. No one would change the existing position,” he said. Fotedar, however, refused to comment on the future electoral alliance with any of the political party. He said that media persons should talk to those leaders who have information about the electoral alliance in the State. “I have no information about the pre-poll alliance with any party in the State,” he said. Earlier, talking to party senior leaders and workers at party headquarters, the party leaders briefed Fotedar about their problems and gave him their suggestions for strengthening of the Congress party in Kashmir valley and particularly in district Srinagar. Fotedar stressed the party leaders and workers that their grievances and suggestions would be communicated to party high command, particularly to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.