The uneasy coalition between the Congress and National Conference in Jammu and Kashmir finally ended on Sunday, with the Congress announcing it will go alone in the forthcoming Assembly elections.
The question now is whether the Congress — which was facing pressure from its rank and file to snap ties — will pull out its ministers from the Omar Abdullah ministry and will the Chief Minister step down or not.
Jammu and Kashmir Congress president Saifuddin Soz refused to give a concrete answer. “Let the government run if it can run. We are talking about elections, and government is different. If the government can run for a period of time, it will run. It is sure they will have their agenda and we will have ours. And, after a point of time, if issues crop up, they can either be discussed or we can mutually decide what to do,” Soz told The Indian Express.
The term of the current government is till January 5 next year.
Minutes after Congress top leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ambika Soni and Soz announced in Jammu that the party will fight the elections alone, Omar said he had informed Congress president Sonia Gandhi about his party’s decision to snap ties as early as 10 days ago, underlining that the NC wanted to end the coalition and not the Congress.
“I met Mrs Gandhi 10 days ago & thanked her for all her support. I conveyed NC’s decision to fight the elections alone,” Omar said on Twitter. He said he explained the reasons to the Congress president for going alone “but also told her I wouldn’t be making a public announcement because I didn’t want to look opportunistic”.
“For it to be spun now as a Cong decision is wrong & a complete distortion of the facts, not surprising but incorrect nonetheless,” he added.
Omar’s political secretary Tanveer Sadiq expressed confidence that the government though would survive. “The government will continue. This coalition has done a wonderful job,” Sadiq said.
Sources in the Congress said the decision to part ways was taken at the instance of state leaders, who have been demanding this for long. “Congress workers were dead against going into elections with the NC, especially after the Lok Sabha election setback. What can we do?” a senior leader said.
Talking to the media in Jammu, Azad said: “The Congress has a wider nationalist agenda and we have to carry it forward. Many times,