PDP withdraws from UPA a day before Omar swearing in

January 4th, 2009 - 8:23 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 4 (IANS) As Omar Abdullah prepares to take over as Jammu and Kashmir’s new chief minister heading a National Conference-Congress coalition, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Sunday withdrew from India’s ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA), saying its continuation in the grouping had become “untenable”. The PDP had been a part of the Congress-led UPA for the last five years. It continued to be in the multi-party grouping even after the collapse of the PDP-Congress coalition government in Srinagar in July 2008 following the Amarnath shrine land row.

In a letter sent to Congress president Sonia Gandhi Sunday, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said it had become untenable for her party to continue to be a part of the alliance.

“In view of your new arrangement with the National Conference, both in the state and in UPA, you would appreciate our difficulty in continuing to be a part of UPA. My party has decided to stay away from the arrangement as it has become now untenable for PDP,” she is believed to have written to Gandhi.

The PDP chief complimented Gandhi for her “statesmanship” which she said contributed “in a substantial measure” to the turnaround in the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

Mehbooba claimed that the Congress-PDP alliance had facilitated the process of peace and reconciliation in Jammu and Kashmir, where a Muslim separatist campaign has claimed thousands of lives since 1989.

“For the first time in the state’s history, the PDP-Congress coalition worked as a remarkable facilitator of reconciliation between political aspirations of the state, its developmental needs and the national interest,” she said.

The measures initiated by the PDP-Congress government, she said, had made people realise that peace was “the only way forward in South Asia”.

Mehbooba said that it was during the stewardship of her father Mufti Mohammed Sayeed as chief minister that an “unprecedented national consensus” was reached on Jammu and Kashmir.

As a result, both former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and present Prime Minister Manmohan Singh articulated the need to open up to Pakistan and reach out to the people of the state to settle the Kashmir dispute.

The process of peace and reconciliation gave a new status and prestige to mainstream parties in Jammu and Kashmir to become a “factor for resolution”. This helped transform the ground situation in the state in a positive way.

“My father and my party feel we have done a duty towards our state, which could not have been achieved without the support of your party and the UPA government,” she wrote.

Dwelling on the achievements of the last six years, Mehbooba said the Congress and PDP started a journey together in the backdrop of “blood, mayhem, repression and despondency”.

“Today there is enough indication on ground to feel satisfied that the alliance turned out to be an enterprise of hope … that you and Mufti Saheb had intended it to be”.

It was unfortunate, the PDP chief said, that the coalition government did not run its full course. But even after the fall of the PDP-Congress government, the PDP extended support to the central UPA government.

Mehbooba said her party would continue to highlight issues it had espoused in recent months.

“We had gone into the recent elections with our agenda for dialogue, self-rule, reduction of troops and scrapping of special powers in view of the vastly improved ground situation in the state… We as a responsible opposition will continue to flag the issues we feel people have mandated us for.”

She said her party wished the new government well, now that “you have exercised your unquestionable right to choose a partner for government formation in Jammu and Kashmir”.

Mehbooba also thanked Gandhi for showing “personal affection” and for her understanding of “our point of view”.

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