NC-led Kashmir ministry likely to take oath Jan 5 (Lead)

January 1st, 2009 - 11:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia GandhiNew Delhi, Jan 1 (IANS) The National Conference (NC)-led Jammu and Kashmir coalition ministry is likely to be sworn in Jan 5, as agreement with the Congress over the modalities of ministry formation was reached here Thursday. Leaders of the Congress and the NC - the alliance partners in the state, which has been without an elected government since July - met in the national capital to work out the details of the alliance.

“We reached an agreement for the government formation,” Congress leader in charge of Kashmir affairs Prithviraj Chavan told reporters after the meeting.

From the Congress, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Defence Minister A.K. Antony, party president Sonia Gandhi’s politixcal advisor Ahmed Patel, Water Resources Minister Saifuddin Soz and Ghulam Nabi Azad attended the meeting.

Chief minister-designate and party president Omar Abdullah, senior leaders A.R. Rather, Mohammed Shafi Uri and Mian Altaf represented the NC.

“Mechanism to review the function of the government, as and when found important, will be worked out later,” Chavan said.

Abdullah is set to lead the new government of the state - at 38 he will be currently India’s youngest chief minister - after the Congress high command in New Delhi Tuesday agreed to extend its legislative support to the NC, which is the single largest party in the assembly.

Abdullah said the oath taking ceremony would take place before Jan 6.

“I will swear-in (with) two more members of my party. I have requested the Congress to allow three of its members to be sworn-in on the same day,” he said, adding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called an internal security meeting of all chief ministers Jan 6.

“We would like Jammu and Kashmir to be represented in the meeting as internal security is an important issue (for the state),” the NC president said.

He said the issues like rotating the chief ministership, the post of speaker and other matter will be discussed after the government was formed.

He said the talks went on in a cordial atmosphere and asserted that the two parties will fight the upcoming Lok Sabha elections together.

“We will write to the Lok Sabha Speaker and the Rajya Sabha chairman to include the NC in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA),” Abdullah said.

The NC has three Lok Sabha members and one in the Rajya Sabha.

Before the meeting, Chavan said: “We wish even the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to remain a part of the UPA. But in view of the alliance with the NC, we need to examine various aspects.”

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