Cong flip-flop over joining PAGD continues; says not part of Gupkar Alliance, only fighting DDC polls together

Twitter: @OmarAbdullah

Srinagar: Seemingly `confused’, Congress on Saturday said it was not a part of the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) but has entered into a seat-sharing arrangement with the conglomerate for the upcoming District Development Councils (DDC) elections only.

Even as Congress had yesterday for the first time taken part in a PAGD meeting, J&K Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma said the deliberations were being held only for seat-sharing in the DDC polls.

“We only have a seat-sharing arrangement with the National Conference and other like-minded secular parties. We are not part of the Gupkar Alliance. So far, we are only fighting the elections together. We are together only for seat sharing,” Sharma told The Kashmir Monitor.

Sharma further said, barring seat-sharing for DDC elections, the Congress would not remain a party to other PAGD programmes as of now.

He made the comments a day after senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Monga said his party ‘stood by’ the PAGD. Other non-Congress PAGD members too had stated that the JKPCC was part of the amalgam now.

However, a senior Congress leader on condition of anonymity said Monga’s comments had not gone well with the party leaders of the Jammu region and caused an embarrassing situation for the JKPCC.

“Jammu based leaders have taken serious offence to Monga’s comments and they have always had problems with the provocative statements of the Kashmir-based leaders of the Gupkar Alliance. Monga’s comments have landed Congress in an embarrassing situation and JKPCC president GA Mir spoke to him over the matter. Monga was sent to the PAGD meeting only to discuss seat sharing and not to issue statements that would create a rift within the party,” the Congress leader said.

The PAGD had been formed on October 15 by six major political parties of J&K. However, the Congress that was one of the ‘Gupkar declaration’ signatories had skipped the October 15 meeting. Prior to stripping of J&K’s special status on August 5 last year, the leaders had met at the Gupkar residence of National Conference president Farooq Abdullah here and drafted the declaration.

Even as a JKPCC statement had claimed that its president GA Mir did not attend the October 15 meeting due to health reasons, he later toured parts of the Jammu region the next day. The JKPCC president did not attend the PAGD meeting on October 24 either after which Farooq Abdullah was nominated president of the amalgam.

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