Cong sleight of hand saves government

Cong sleight of hand saves government


Sea of support...Omar’s victory march after 2008 Assembly election. File Photo

The Congress did not want the crisis to prolong in the troubled state as it would have not only given a handle for the rival PDP to have a go at the Congress-NC coalition but also brought to fore the internal squabbles in its own party unit.

It was with this end that the Congress and UPA government at the Centre asked the CBI to issue a denial of  Abdullah’s alleged involvement  in the sex scandal. The CBI did the needful saying that the CM never figured in the 2006 sex scandal in which two ministers of the then PDP regime were arrested.

The Congress wanted the crisis to blow over as it did not want the government to become unpopular and its image to take a hit as it is just about eight months that the coalition has been in power.

Besides, a change of CM would be akin to instability in the state. With Congress running the Union government, the party did not want that to happen.   Also, the vexed state heading from one incident to another like the Shopian rape and murder of two Kashmiri women and the subsequent unrelenting agitation by the people in the state, forced the Centre to handle the crisis with urgency.

With this in view, the Centre, no sooner than the crisis broke out in Srinagar, fielded Union Home Minister P Chidambaram to defend Abdullah. “There is one case in which the FIR was registered on March 14, 2006. The CBI investigated and filed a charge sheet. Omar’s name does not appear among the 17 accused,” Chidambaram said. Governor N N Vohra finally put an end to the dramatic events by rejecting the CM’s resignation.

Internal bickering

Congress has its own share of problems in the state too. There is internal squabbling with state unit chief Saifuddin Soz and Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad not having great equations with each other.

Nor are the relations between the CM and the local Congress unit anything to write home about.

Abdullah enjoys a good rapport with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA President Sonia Gandhi but there is tension between NC and Congress at the local level. This is despite Congress sharing power and having its own deputy CM. Azad and Soz control their own groups within the cabinet too.

Thus, considering all this, curtains on the dramatic developments has come as a blessing in disguise for the leaders of the Congress party and the UPA at the Centre.

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