Maharashtra-Haryana Assembly Elections

AFSPA temporary, it has to go: Congress

Jammu, PTI | Updated : 14 July 2013, 08:54 PM

Congress on insisted that Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) was temporary and maintained that it can be revoked only after proper consultations.

"AFSPA is a temporary law, it has to go. But, it will go by way of consultation. If the process is complete I will welcome it. If both the Union Home Minister and the Defence Minister agree on its revocation, I will agree with them," Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) chief Saifuddin Soz told reporters on the sidelines of a day-long convention of district Congress Committee delegates here.

Talking about upcoming elections in the state and the party's prospects to form the government independently or in alliance with one of the regional parties, the senior Congress leader said "What is in Congress party's interest, we will take that decision."

Asked whether the party perceived PDP as a more reliable ally than the National Conference, Soz said "I will only speak when Congress will have to start analysing its numbers."

Earlier while addressing delegates, he had maintained that Congress will emerge as a single largest party in the state.

"It will be an exaggeration to say that we will form the government alone, but I believe Congress will emerge as the single largest party in the state," Soz said.

Asked about empowerment of Panchayati Raj Institutions in the state and the party's commitment in this regard, he said "We are in the process, it will happen. We are not going for any compromise," and added that the party has put the issue of panchayats in its resolution and it will be settled before the upcoming elections.

The JKPCC today unanimously passed a resolution on firmly seeking early elections to block development councils, district development planning boards and local bodies in Jammu and Kashmir.

"We are working in this direction and I believe it will be done. The coordination committee is discussing the issue and it will move to the cabinet soon," Soz said.

On factionalism in Congress party within the state, Soz said "I never took notice of factionalism, neither did I promote it."

Asked about the absence of Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and state in-charge Ambika Soni, who were supposed to be a part of today's proceedings, Soz said the two leaders were busy and had informed about their inability to attend the meeting.

Earlier while addressing the gathering, Congress leader and state tourism minister G A Mir reiterated that no government in the state can be formed without Congress.

"As a Congress worker I cannot see NC jumping from its current share of 28 seats to 58 or PDP rising from its 21 seats to 51, but I can see Congress going up from 17 to 37 seats," Mir said.

He also insisted that there can be a difference of opinion within the party, which didn't essentially meant that Congress was a divided house.

Minister for PHE and irrigation, Sham Lal Sharma and Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand endorsed Mir's views and insisted that the party needs to work as one to make it big at the Assembly elections.

Several other party MPs and MLAs were also present on the occasion.

First Published: Sunday, July 14, 2013 08:53 PM
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