Farooq with UF, but keeps options open
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference chief Dr Farooq Abdullah has assured the United Front leadership that his party would remain with the combine. He would, however, keep his options open on the party's stance on the confidence motion to be moved by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Addressing the media immediately after attending the UF steering committee meeting yesterday, Dr Abdullah said that neither his son Omar Farooq nor Saifuddin Soz would join the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government. The support to the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government will be issue-based.
The Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said he had tremendous
compulsions to collaborate with the central government as he was tackling the Pakistan-sponsored insurgency in the sensitive
border state. He, however, parried a question on whether the BJP is a communal party or not.
He said the National Conference has also noted that the BJP
government has dropped contentious issues like Ayodhya, Article 370 of the Constitution, the Jammu and Kashmir special status issue and the Common Civil Code.
Asked whether Dr Abdullah was taking the UF for a ride like his Andhra Pradesh counterpart Nara Chandrababu Naidu, UF spokesman S Jaipal Reddy said, ''We do not believe in jumping the gun and would prefer to go by his statement at the steering committee.''
Asked if the UF was desperate to retain the National Conference in its fold, Reddy replied in the negative.
Dr Abdullah, Reddy said, is not exactly like Naidu in his relations with the UF. The Jammu and Kashmir chief
minister did not talk to President K R Narayanan behind the UF back, he said.
''Naidu also kept the UF in the dark about his negotiations
with the BJP.''
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