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J&K elections: Congress unlikely to have pre-poll alliance with National Conference

Congress has decided against any pre-poll alliance with the National Conference, a move that has caught the latter unaware and upset.

, ET Bureau|
Apr 16, 2013, 04.00 AM IST
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Congress has decided against any pre-poll alliance with the National Conference, a move that has caught the latter unaware and upset.
Congress has decided against any pre-poll alliance with the National Conference, a move that has caught the latter unaware and upset.
SRINAGAR: In a decision that could impact the outcome of the 2014 assembly elections in J&K, the Congress has decided against any pre-poll alliance with the National Conference, a move that has caught the latter unaware and upset.

Though the high command is yet to announce the decision formally, state Congress leaders have raised the pitch forcing NC to react defensively and raise age-old poll planks of autonomy and the manner of Afzal Guru's hanging.

"Yes, it is correct, Congress is unlikely to have a pre-poll alliance with NC," a senior Congress leader told ET. "The decision will be announced formally at the appropriate time but it is taken at the highest level." The Congress leader who preferred to be unnamed said this would have no impact on the friendship between Rahul Gandhi and Omar Abdullah.

The Congress president does not want any kind of pre-poll alliance that might lead to a situation in which 1987 elections are repeated. "But this is nothing new," the leader said, adding, "Congress ruled J&K in the last tenure with PDP but the two parties contested the 2008 elections separately."

A general belief is that rigging of 1987 elections was one of the major factors that led to the rise of militancy a year later.

The in-principle decision has seen state Congress leaders go public with its plans. Prof Saifuddin Soz, who was recently reappointed the state Congress chief says the party will emerge as the single largest party in the 2014 assembly polls and govern the state.

"If we fall short of numbers, we will form a coalition and the options are open," Soz said on Sunday in Srinagar. "We will not play a B-team but an equal partner."

The Congress' move is in direct conflict with NC's scheme of things. Apparently harping on the friendship between the two 'young' men, party leaders went public repeatedly suggesting a pre-poll alliance was in the offing. Now public posturing is gradually taking a shift.

CM Omar Abdullah talks about Delhi's "duplicitous policies" and asserts the clandestine execution of Afzal Guru has changed the situation radically. Party leaders say any pre-poll alliance with Congress would be suicidal in post-February 9 Kashmir. Last week, the NC held a working committee meeting that passed a 10-point resolution unanimously. It sought restoration of autonomy and expressed its anguish over the fact that Afzal Guru's family was not allowed to meet him before his execution.

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