Bickering on admin units rocks NC, Cong coalition

Omar holds out 'resignation' threat, meets Rahul

With the deadline for the cabinet sub-committee to submit its report on the creation of new administrative units in Jammu and Kashmir drawing closer, differences between National Conference and Congress over the issue are threatening the five-year-old coalition government in the state.

J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had last week declined to chair the cabinet meeting and threatened to resign if the sub-committee headed by the Deputy Chief Minister from Congress, Tara Chand, failed to submit its report by February 1.

Sources told Deccan Herald that Omar, who flew to New Delhi on Monday to attend a crucial meeting convened by Congress J&K in-charge Ambika Soni put forth his views on certain issues, including that of forging a pre-poll alliance with Congress in the upcoming parliamentary and assembly polls.

“He also highlighted the essence of creation of new administrative units in J&K, saying that the sooner the better it happen,” said an official.

Sources said Omar couldn’t convince the Congress high command over the essence of creation of new units.

“After meeting Ambika, Omar also tried to convince his long-time friend and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi over the issue. But he was told that instead of convincing the Congress high command Omar should motivate state Congress leadership,” said the official.

Omar had met Congress President Sonia Gandhi last week over the issue but no progress was made.

A senior NC minister said that an upset Omar was now thinking of stepping down as the state Congress is determined to “sabotage” his project, which could have given NC electoral gains in the upcoming elections.

He made it clear that the move will never compromise on creation of new administrative units even if it has to take an extreme step.

Senior state Congress leader and J&K Tourism Minister Ghulam Ahmad Mir blamed National Conference for taking credit for the creation of new administrative units, keeping in view the electoral gains in the forthcoming elections.

But state Congress chief Saif-ud-Din Soz downplayed the reports of discord between the coallition partners.

“We do not want to take any decision on creation of new administrative units in haste. Keeping the sensitivity and the huge demands of people into consideration, the state Congress wants to take all the three regions on board before the cabinet approves the sub-committee report,” he added.

Additional General Secretary of NC Mustafa Kamal, who is also Omar’s uncle, refuted media reports about resignation of the chief minister.

“There is no truth in the news. These are just rumours,” he said.

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