Cong High Command Will Decide On 2014 Alliance, Says Soz

Cong High Command Will Decide On 2014 Alliance, Says Soz

1 November 2013
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Dinesh Malhotra

Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress (JKPCC) chief Saifuddin Soz today said the decision on a pre or post-poll alliance for the 2014 Assembly elections would be taken by the Congress high command at an appropriate time. Soz, who was here to review preparations for visit of All India Congress Committee (AICC) vice-president Rahul Gandhi, said, 'As of now, the Congress is running a coalition government with the National Conference and this coalition will complete its own term.' 'As far as the decision on an alliance in the next Assembly elections is concerned, it will be taken by the high command keeping in view the aspirations of Congress workers in mind,' he said, but added that the interests of the party would be the first priority. With Rahul Gandhi slated to visit Jammu and Srinagar on November 6 and 7, respectively, to address panchayat conferences, Soz adopted an aggressive posture on the issue of incorporating relevant clauses of the 73rd Amendment to the Indian Constitution in the J&K Panchayat Raj Act. 'We are committed to empower panchayats in J&K. Our coalition partner, the National Conference, has agreed to incorporate relevant clauses of the 73rd Amendment,' he claimed and added that Rahul Gandhi was taking keen interest to strengthen Panchayati Raj institutions in the state. Soz further said that coalition partner had also agreed to adopt the Food Security and Land Acquisition Act. Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to address a Panchayat Conference at Maulana Azad Stadium at Jammu on November 6. The Congress has decided to organise panchayat conferences at Jammu and Srinagar respectively to reap political benefit of the recent decisions taken by the state government to empower panchayats. Congress leaders are claiming that announcements of Panchayat Development Fund (PDF) and honorarium for panchayat members are the result of pressure from the party leadership and the personal intervention of Rahul Gandhi. Soz also convened a meeting of party ministers, legislators and senior leaders and assigned them tasks to mobilise panchayat members for the rally.