NC Opts Out Of Race, Clears Decks For Cong To Form Kargil Council

NC Opts Out Of Race, Clears Decks For Cong To Form Kargil Council

8 September 2013
The Daily Excelsior


Jammu: Ending 10 days long suspense over majority in Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Kargil, which had brought both Alliance partners-National Conference and Congress at loggerheads, the NC today opted out of the race leaving the field open for the Congress to stake claim for majority and elect its leader Asgar Ali Karblaie as the new Chief Executive Councilor (CEC). “What is the fun of fighting over a small issue? Both NC and Congress are running the coalition successfully for past four and a half years. There is no fun of fighting over a trivial issue of getting majority in LAHDC Kargil,’’ Dr Abdullah told the Excelsior over telephone from Srinagar. He said: “we have to run the coalition in large interest of nation and the people of Jammu and Kashmir and we will do that. The coalition has completed four and a half year smoothly and it will complete the remaining period in the similar way’’. Announcing that the National Conference was opting out of the race for formation of majority in the LAHDC Kargil, Farooq, who also happened to be NC president, said: “the Congress had the people’s mandate there. Therefore, we are opting out. This is a non-issue’’. The National Conference had 18 seats in previous LAHDC Kargil in the House of 26 while the Congress had 8. In August 22 elections, the NC was reduced to eight and Congress to 10 while Independents grabbed eight seats. Four Independent Councilors each had sided with the two parties taking Congress tally to 14 and NC to 12. However, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah using his Constitutional powers nominated four NC leaders as Councilors to the LAHDC Kargil tilting the balance in favour of his party but, in the process, irking the Congress, which took strong exception to the Alliance partner’s move describing it as ‘unilateral and arbitrary decision’ and demanding its immediate withdrawal. While Congress was of the view that the NC and Congress should have shared two nominations each, NC claimed that the Congress had taken its share of four nominations in LAHDC Leh and now it was its turn to nominate its four members to the LAHDC Kargil. Both factions of Congress put up a united front and held meetings of the Ministers under the chairmanship of PCC (I) president Prof Saif-ud-Din Soz on Friday and Saturday besides the meeting of Co-ordination Committee demanding immediate cancellation of the nominations. However, with NC opting out of the race, Deputy Commissioner, Kargil, Fida Hussain would invited Congress leader Asgar Ali Karblaie to form the Council after the Councilors were administered oath by Principal District and Sessions Judge Tahir Khurshid Raina on a date fixed by Ladakh Affairs Department of the Government, held by Abdul Rahim Rather. The oath ceremony, earlier scheduled to be held yesterday, was cancelled at the last moment following pressure exerted by the Congress on withdrawal of nominations. The National Conference had fielded Ladakh MP from Lok Sabha Ghulam Hassan Khan in the Council in a bid to make him the CEC if the party secured majority. Khan as well as another strong NC leader Kachu Asgar Ali Khan had been elected to the Council. Although National Conference and Congress are alliance partners in the State Government, they had contested the LAHDC Kargil polls against each other. “We have decided that as Congress has won there, it will form the Council. It is the decision of the people there,” Farooq said. Abdullah said his party lost the elections due to “its own people” and it should accept the verdict. “Our own people did wrong there and that is why we lost the elections. Now, we should accept that but do not worry, elections will come again,” he added. The Union Minister expressed hope that his party leader will “learn” from the mistakes and do better in the Assembly elections next year. “They (party men) were flying high that we will win in Kargil, but we have not. So, we have to be cautious and not let it happen in the 2014 elections,” Dr Abdullah said. He said there were people who want the coalition partners to fight over every issue. “Some people want us to fight, but we would not. Our opponents are already in Delhi waiting for us to make any mistake, so that they could occupy the power, but we would not make any,” Farooq said. Dr Abdullah said there were many difficulties before the National Conference and asked the workers to strengthen the party and resolve internal differences. “NC is the only party which can provide stability here. You have to be cautious and strengthen the party. The ink-pot party (PDP) is deceiving the people. It always has deceived them,” the NC patron said, asking the workers to help the party increase its tally in the next elections from the present strength of 28 MLAs. He asked his party leaders, including his brother Mustafa Kamaal, to exercise caution while speaking on any issue. “You talk something and we (NC leadership) have to bear the brunt. You should be cautious of what you talk, so that there is no damage to the coalition,” the NC president said. Dr Abdullah expressed hope that the relations between India and Pakistan will become good and which could have “better effects” on Kashmir. “Our neighbouring country does something and we (Kashmiris) bear the brunt. I hope and pray that the differences between the two nations will be resolved, so that we things will be better for us,” he said. PTI adds from Srinagar: Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah today said, having Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as Prime Minister of India will be “dangerous and damaging” for the nation’s secular ethos. “National Conference (NC) has nothing to do with either Modi or BJP or Sangh (Parivar). We want to stay far and would not get into any agreements with them. That (Modi as PM) will be dangerous and damaging for the Indian secular ethos,” Abdullah told reporters while replying to a question. The Union Minister, however, supported Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for the post of Prime Minister. “Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) has said it, it is good. He has seen him (Rahul), even I have seen him and I think he is good. He is young and a good choice and now he has to decide and bear the burden of this nation on his shoulders,” Abdullah said. Replying to a question on reports of a possible meeting between the Prime Minister and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Abdullah said talks between the two leaders would depend on “how the situation would be then”. “Pressures are always going to be there. The talks between the two Prime Ministers will depend on how the situation would be when the Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) reaches America and how much relations between India and Pakistan would have improved by then, because political pressures will surely have an effect on this,” he said. Earlier, the Union Minister released four books on Kashmir including the English translation of the autobiography of his father and NC founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah – “The Blazing Chinar” at SKICC here. Abdullah said the English translation of “The Blazing Chinar” is a step in the right direction and would provide an insight into the personality of Sheikh Adbullah. “His personality has been misunderstood by people. There is one thinking about him in Delhi and another here. Hopefully, a time will come when people will understand him,” the Union Minister said, adding there is a need to have a thorough research on the Sheikh’s life so that both “good and bad” come in front of people. Abdullah also appealed to the people to remain united against those who want to divide them on religious lines. “There is a disaster in offing in the country. There are people who want to divide you on religious lines. But, you should not fight the battle of religion,” he said.