Srinagar, Feb 23: Split is wide open in National Conference (NC) after Central Secretary from Jammu Rattan Lal Gupta wrote a letter to Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) expressing willingness to participate in the now-deferred Panchayat polls if detained leaders are released.
Sources said NC leaders from Kashmir province are not happy with their Jammu counterparts for bypassing the leadership and taking decisions without “authorization”. Under rules, key policy decisions including participating in the elections have to be authorized by the Working Committee.
Since all the three top leaders –President Farooq Abdullah, Vice-president Omar Abdullah and General Secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar – are in jail, nobody has the authority to take any policy decision unless authorized. Plus additional general secretary Mustafa Kamal is also under house arrest.
Sources said no leader from the valley was consulted before the letter was sent to CEO. “We are not concerned about the contents of the letter. We just want to know whether the letter was authorized by any of the top leaders or working committee or core group”, said a top leader.
In his letter, Gupta had said that NC being “strongly votary of democratic process wishes to participate, but it is practically impossible for the party in view of the fact that the top leadership including Farooq, Omar and Sagar are detained under Public Safety Act”.
“It is not necessary that I need to consult people before writing a letter. I am the Central Secretary of the party. I have written the letter. Procedure is that Central Secretary can write a letter and I wrote to Election Commission. What is wrong in it? Shall I have to ask the world whether I should write a letter or not. I am an office bearer and I have written a letter”, Gupta told The Kashmir Monitor.
Additional General Secretary of the NC Mustafa Kamal, however, tried to play down the matter saying there is no evidence that the letter was written in the first place.
“I am under house arrest. I can’t give you any information whether the letter was sent or not. Basic thing is that the Working Committee has to decide it. Three main leaders, president, vice president and general secretary, are under detention. Other aspect is that they might have given recommendation for which party headquarters will respond. How can I respond sitting in the house?” he asked.
Senior NC leader and MP from Anantnag Justice (retd) Hasnain Masoodi said he can’t comment since he does not know anything about it. “I can’t comment. Please appreciate that I am not the author of the letter”, he said.