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Rahul roots for Omar, says needs support
Kolkata, Sept 16 (IANS):
Published on 17 Sep. 2010 12:03 AM IST
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Solidly backing beleagured Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said Thursday he was an elected leader who was doing a “tough” job and needed time and support.
“Our government has supported Omar, who is the elected leader of the National Conference, our alliance partner in the state. The National Conference is the party in power. It is their decision as to who runs the show,” Rahul Gandhi said at a press conference.
“Kashmir is a difficult place. I think Omar is doing a tough job... I think we have to give him some time and support. Kashmir is a tough and sensitive job,” he said.
Within hours, Abdullah thanked Gandhi for coming out in support. “I am grateful to Rajiv Gandhi for his support. I will thank him personally,” he told TimesNow channel.
Gandhi’s comments came amid speculation about the Congress may be planning to ditch Abdullah’s National Conference and enter into a partnerhip with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kashmir.
PDP bigwig Mufti Mohammad Sayeed met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi Wednesday in a bid to defuse the situation in Kashmir where nearly 90 civilians have died in protests, mostly in firing by the security forces. Asked if the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) should be withdrawn in Kashmir, Rahul Gandhi said: “I think there are people who have gone there and are better informed about the situation. It’s a bit wrong for me to have a position on this without having been there.
“I would defer to the prime minister on issues like AFSPA. For me to say whether I am for or against is easy to do. But I need to understand Kashmir in detail before that. I think this (taking a position) would be irresponsible and unfair. I lower my head to the prime minister.”
Gandhi said he had no intention of intervening in Kashmir as that was not a “part time job” and he had been assigned the task of rejuvenating the Youth Congress and the National Students Union of India (NSUI).
He said the youths of Jammu of Kashmir needed to be brought into the political system in greater numbers.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Thursday said his party wanted to partner the Trinamool Congress to unseat the ruling Left Front in West Bengal in assembly polls, but would go it alone if it was not treated with respect.
“We are in partnership with (Trinamool chief) Mamata Banerjee. We will together fight the Left Front, which is the single biggest problem in West Bengal. We want to continue the alliance with her. But we will not do so, if we are not respected. That is my personal view,” Rahul Gandhi said at a press conference here.
Asked what he meant by “respect”, Rahul Gandhi shot back: “Are you not a Bengali? I am surprised you don’t know what respect is. Bengalis are the first people to know what respect is.”
He said his party wanted to hold hands with Banerjee, who is also the railway minister. “She is a senior leader. I respect her. She has worked with my father. She has struggled in Bengal for a very, very long time. However, we are not going to bow our heads.”
He, however, dodged a query on the bitterness between the partners over failed seat adjustment talks in the civic polls this year. “I am not going to speak about the near past. I will speak about the future.”
PM praised Omar: Farooq
New Delhi, Sept 16 (IANS): the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has praised Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah for his governance, Union Minister and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah said here on Wednesday.
Asserting that there was “no danger to the government” headed by his son, Dr. Farooq Abdullah told journalists “there is no trust deficit and during the [all-party] meeting we told all the representatives about the governance that has taken place during the one and half years.” “We are very satisfied with the meeting ... The all-party delegation will be welcomed by the State government and the Union Home Ministry and they will be encouraged to meet many people,” Dr. Farooq Abdullah said. He was silent during the meeting, and on behalf of the NC, the speech was given by Mohammed Shafi, who, besides putting forward his party’s autonomy proposal, favoured talks at the earliest.

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