M A I N   N E W S

No Congress decision on power sharing in J&K 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 23
Even as the suspense over the change of guard in Jammu and Kashmir continues, the Congress today indicated that it was considering continuation of the present power-sharing arrangement in Jammu and Kashmir with the PDP and not take the post of Chief Minister on the takeover date of November 2.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed today met Congress President Sonia Gandhi at her residence to discuss the power sharing between the two parties ahead of the scheduled change of guard in the state. PDP leader and Mr Sayeed’s daughter Mehbooba Mufti and Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee were also present in the meeting.

Later, Mr Mukherjee told mediapersons that the Congress President reviewed the situation in Jammu and Kashmir as also the national situation in her meeting with Mr Sayeed.

Mr Mukherjee, who was accompanied by Mr Sayeed and Ms Mehbooba Mufti, said that the Chief Minister apprised her of the situation in the state. “The Congress President has decided to consult her party colleagues (about the situation) and a decision will be announced shortly,” he said.

Mr Mukherjee said that under the power sharing agreement between the two parties, the PDP was to lead the coalition government for first three of the six-year term of the state Assembly and the Congress for the remaining three years.

Answering queries, Mr Mukherjee said that there was no confusion and a decision would be announced shortly. A visibly relaxed Mr Sayeed in his brief remarks emphasised on Ms Gandhi “reviewing the situation in Jammu and Kashmir as also the national situation.”

In his earlier statements in Srinagar, Mr Sayeed had said that the agreement between the Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party on power-sharing would be implemented.

Earlier, shortly after his arrival in the capital, Mr Sayeed met Mr Mukherjee. He was joined by Ms Mehbooba Mufti. Apart from the discussing the change of guard in the state, the two leaders also discussed relief activities in the quake-hit areas of Jammu and Kashmir.

AICC sources said that the Congress leadership was weighing various factors regarding the change of guard, including the ongoing relief operations in the quake-hit areas and the peace process in the state.

They said in case of the present arrangement continuing, the Congress may not give up its claim for the post of Chief Minister entirely but agree to a postponement.


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