Tuesday, October 22, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Manmohan briefs Sonia
Prashant Sood
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 21
Following talks with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) having failed to yield a breakthrough about the formation of a government in Jammu and Kashmir, the Congress will now decide tomorrow whether to continue dialogue with the PDP or to try and form a government without the PDP.

Senior Congress leader Manmohan Singh, who held two rounds of talks with PDP chief Mufti Mohammed Sayeed in Srinagar, today briefed Congress President Sonia Gandhi about the continuing stalemate. He also met Independent MLAs and those belonging to the Panthers Party and the CPM during his visit to Srinagar. He met Mrs Gandhi in the evening today along with CPL leader Ghulam Nabi Azad.

Mrs Gandhi has convened a meeting of senior party leaders tomorrow evening to decide the party’s approach to forming the government in Jammu and Kashmir. Since talks with the PDP so far have not led to a breakthrough, the Congress is unlikely to continue the process. Mr Manmohan Singh said all decisions taken so far would be reviewed at tomorrow’s meeting.

AICC sources said the PDP had not budged from its demand for Chief Ministership. The Congress had even suggested that the CM’s post be held by the two parties for three years each, but this was not acceptable to the PDP.

Mr Azad said here that 15 of the 18 Independents were willing to back only a Congress-led government. Rebutting Mr Sayeed’s claim that the PDP had ousted the National Conference from the Kashmir valley, Mr Azad said the PDP had only won 16 of 47 seats. The NC had managed to win more seats than the PDP in the valley, he said.


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