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PDP boycotts J&K cabinet meeting
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March 18, 2007 15:23 IST

Amid reports that the People's Democratic Party is considering pulling out of the coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir, its ministers boycotted Sunday meeting of the state cabinet for the third time.

"PDP continued with its boycott of the cabinet meeting called by Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad for third time on Sunday," officials said.

The PDP has scheduled a crucial meeting of its political affairs committee on March 25 to take a decision on its continuation in the 54-month-old Congress-PDP coalition government.

There are reports that Agriculture Minister Abdul Aziz Zargar, Finance Minister Tariq Hamid Qarra, Tourism Minister Mohmmad Dilawar Mir and Forest Minister Qazi Mohmmad Afzal, all from PDP, failed to turn up at the meeting.

The ministers had earlier boycotted the cabinet meetings on February 28 and March 9 after failing to get any response from Azad to a letter written by Zargar.

The agriculture minister had requested the chief minister to hold a special meeting to discuss various issues including reduction of troops in the border state and security forces vacating civilian properties.

In a letter written to the PDP on March 15, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had rejected its demand for troop reduction in the valley. 

When asked about the PDP's stance, Congress ministers Jugal Kishore and Gulchain Singh told reporters, "It's upto PDP to attend or not. We cannot thrust anything on them."

They also conceded that there was 'virtual uncertainity' in the state government and functioning of administration has been affected by PDP's 'acts'.

When asked whether PDP will withdraw from the coalition government, they said, "It is upto them to decide and it would make no difference to us."

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